Lucasfilm has announced that the first Star Wars 3D release, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, will hit theaters on February 10, 2012.
As outlined in the initial announcement on the Star Wars 3D releases, the plan is to re-release each Star Wars film newly converted to 3D every year, finishing in 2017. Both announcements from Lucasfilm have been met with mixed reactions from fans, though George Lucas has been publicly supportive of 3D technology in cinema along with James Cameron in the years leading up to his Avatar release.
Lucasfilm’s press release reads as follows:
Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox announced today that the 3D theatrical launch of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace now has an official release date — February 10, 2012! Set against the thrilling and exotic backdrop of a “galaxy far, far away,” Star Wars is perfectly suited to the immersive 3D theatrical experience, and Episode I delivers some of the Saga’s most stunning and spectacular sequences — from the Naboo invasion to the Tatooine Podraces to the climactic lightsaber battle between Darth Maul and the Jedi.
Supervised by Industrial Light & Magic, the meticulous conversion is being done with utmost respect for the source material and with a keen eye for both technological considerations and artistic intentions.
While the statement highlights that ILM are treating the Star Wars 3D project with “respect,” let’s face it: despite what fans want or do not want, if Lucas wants something updated or changed, it’s going to happen. Personally speaking, I am not in the dominant group of pessimistic fans — I’ve always been quite happy with updates to the saga, and have enjoyed the prequels as well. Yes, I know, I must be abnormal — but there are those of us out there who have met Lucas’ alterations with optimism.
Several years ago, there was CGI footage of Yoda on one of the Star Wars DVDs, that was speaking lines from The Phantom Menace. Fans have long speculated whether this CGI Yoda will eventually replace the Puppet Yoda in Episode I, and one has to consider whether this (among other things) may be an addition to the film, which will (no doubt) cause a whole new generation of fans to whine about their childhoods being raped. Either way, it will be interesting to see what changes (if any) get made. Perhaps we will be arguing “Jar Jar shot the boomer first” for years to come.
Despite anyone’s personal opinions about Lucas’ updates to the Star Wars movies, the releases are bound to do quite well in theaters — and is another opportunity for George Lucas to bring Star Wars to a new generation of kids who may never have seen the films before.
So, Geeks of Doom readers… what do you think? Are you optimistic about the 3D releases? Or does this make your seethe with rage? If Lucas makes any additions or changes, what would you like to see? Any deleted scenes? Speak your minds!
[Sources: The Official Star Wars Site | Universal Day of the Jedi | Deadline]