George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy has been re-released countless times over the past years, but his trilogy of Star Wars prequels have only experienced a single theatrical run, that is until earlier this year. In February, the first of the prequels, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was re-released in theaters with the added boost of 3D technology.
While not as successful as many of the 3D re-releases we’d seen before, The Phantom Menace was meant to pave the way for future 3D entries in the sci-fi saga, and today we can confirm that it has.
Lucasfilm announced at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration that both Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith will be released in theaters next year in 3D. The second entry in the prequel trilogy – which introduced the world to Hayden Christensen - will be released on September 20, 2013, while the epic conclusion to the Darth Vader-centric story, will debut on October 11, 2013.
As we said before, Episode 1 3D didn’t necessarily “knock it out of the park” but a respectable $43 Million at the box office was enough to convince FOX to greenlight 3D post-conversion on the next two films. It’s a little unsettling to think that they aren’t taking their time – essentially pulling double duty on the films – but post-conversion processes are usually handled by several different production houses anyway.
Our review of The Phantom Menace in 3D stressed that the eye-popping experience wasn’t all that memorable, but Episode 2 and 3 carry the unique trait of having been shot digitally and not on film. Digital filmmaking – long considered a bane of film enthusiasts the world over – has one inherent positive: it makes 3D post-conversion much easier.
Several films have opted for the digital format simply because it is more agreeable to 3D post-conversion, a quality that gives us hope these next two Star Wars films will be better – at least as far as the 3D goes. We can’t necessarily speak to the quality of the films’ storylines – hey, there’s less Jar Jar – but if they roll out special edition glasses like with Phantom Menace, kids will surely flock to theaters.
And for the adults who pine for Lucas’ original trilogy this announcement is also good, because it leaves no more riff-raff between the fans and an inevitable original trilogy 3D re-release. If these two films flop at the box office it might give FOX pause about moving forward – but we’d guess Lucas knows exactly what fans want. Now if only we could convince him to perform the post-conversion job on the unaltered theatrical releases - instead of those CGI “upgrades” made to the re-release versions of the original trilogy…