‘Star Wars: Episode I’ Officially Set For 3D Re-Release In February 2012

Published 4 years ago by , Updated September 18th, 2012 at 8:08 am,

Last fall brought the news that George Lucas and 20th Century Fox had plans to re-release the entire Star Wars saga in 3D. Fast-forward to today and that threat promise has taken one more step forward to becoming true, as the 3D version of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace has an official release date.

The Phantom Menace is now slated to return to theaters on February 10th, 2012 – more than fifteen years after the special edition of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was released in theaters, matter of fact.

Here’s an official statement from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Fox on the matter:

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.

All three chapters in Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy feature a ton of digitally-created F/X, scenery, alien creatures, vehicles, etc…. and since computer-animated movies that are converted into 3D tend to look decent enough, the post-production conversion of The Phantom Menace should actually be okay as well.

The Phantom Menace Podrace scene Star Wars: Episode I Officially Set For 3D Re Release In February 2012

The bigger issue is whether or not there are actually that many people who are willing to cough up the cash to see The Phantom Menace in 3D. It’s still by and large considered to be the weakest link in the Star Wars franchise (and considering fans’ feelings about the prequels in general, that’s saying something). Also, and this is more my opinion than anything else, the digital F/X in the film haven’t aged nearly as well as those in the original Star Wars trilogy – back when miniatures, matte paintings, and practical sets were all the rage.

On that note: sit down sometime and (if you dare) re-watch some of the footage from any one of the Star Wars prequels. Most of the time the camerawork is very sedentary, and there’s little in the way of creative movement or angles. Nearly every frame of those films are crammed full with computer-animated objects that distract from the fact that the camera is never really exploring these worlds, but instead just sitting back and admiring it all from a distance.

Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace Star Wars: Episode I Officially Set For 3D Re Release In February 2012

There's him, too.

The Phantom Menace may end up looking really impressive in 3D up on the big screen when it arrives next year on February 10th. But do you really want to sit through this mess of a movie in a theater again?

Source: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm

TAGS: Star wars
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  1. No way. It’s hard enough to try so tolerate while watching at home. No way I’m going to pay 3D prices for the worst of the Star Wars flicks.
    I probably wouldn’t even watch it for free.
    Like you said, the camera is very sedentary. For all the money Lucas has, he couldn’t afford more cameras? He couldn’t be more creative with the cinematography? Get some movement in there.
    Now, I might see the original trilogy in 3D, but no way on any of the prequels.

    • Lucas would have had to get out of a chair and walk around a bit and that is too much like Exercise. Do you expect Jabba to walk around without a hover platform? I didnt think so. /sarc

  2. George Lucas is the devil and he hates all humanity.

    Why else would he create something so magnificent for everyone only to destroy it?

    • haha very well put

      I’m not a fan of the original Star Wars (I wasn’t alive during the phenomenon) but I respect the hell out of those movies and understand that they were groundbreaking for their time.

      The prequels on the other hand were some of the worst films I’ve ever seen overall. The cinematography, dialogue, story and acting were also some of the worst I’ve ever seen.

      • I think the stories in the prequels were actually very good, that IS Lucas’ forte. I do agree that the dialogue and acting were pretty weak though…especially Hayden Christansen. There were some awesome scenes (the lightsaber battle in Ep 2), but the movies in general are not the classics that the original trilogy are. I mean, even Samuel L. Jackson was as wooden as a board!

      • I wasn’t alive during the phenomenon either, but the Original Trilogy is still one of my favorite movie series of all time and I’m a huge Star Wars fan (of the OT and Expanded Universe, not so much the Prequels and Clone Wars)… So what does when you were born have to do with whether or not you’re a fan?

  3. I may see this actually. The movie was complete crap, but at least I can pretend I’m choking Jar Jark Binks since it’s in 3D lol.

  4. I agree that Lucas is recycling his creation beyond all credibility and may actually now be tarnishing the whole legacy of Star Wars itself. Surely that day will come when the notion finally his him ‘ Right I really need to try and do something else, something original perhaps’

    Screen Rant recently drew up a list of disappointing films of 2010, and if one was compiled for the most disappointing film of the 90s then Phantom Menace would be right up there, possibly at #1. I can still remember all the excitement back in 1999 and the huge feeling of despondance after sitting through the movie many times at which i struggled to stay awake. It’s still the biggest reminder of how people were so letdown after such an awesome trailer and why we should approach with a bit of caution the likes of Transformers 3 and Thor.

    Having said all this I would consider watching the original trilogy in 3D and especially Revenge of The Sith as the visuals in that would look pretty amazing for sure.

  5. its Star Wars yes I want to sit through it again what a dumb thing to say

  6. Any idea if Lucas will be updating or revisiting some of the scenes like he did with the original Star Wars re release? I.e added scenes? deleted (jarjar) scenes? As you mentioned, the CGI in Phantom Menace does not stand the test of time…

    • You mean like a Prequel trilogy special edition? I was thinking of that myself. I remember seeing some test footage of a 3d animated Yoda in Episode I, maybe he’ll put that in? Well, either way, I absolutely REFUSE to give Lucas any more money for the prequels. I’ll go see the original trilogy, heck I’ll see it two or three times. We should use this opportunity to tell Lucas just how we feel about his work. Maybe, just maybe if we all boycott the prequels and instead opt to see the originals he’ll get the picture… but then again probably not.

  7. I’ll probly see it. Never saw Episode 1 in theaters cause wasn’t a Star Wars fan yet,lol. Probly see them all just for the heck of it.

  8. I just don’t know….

    I Might try and sneak in just for the Podrace and then leave and come back for the Darth Maul fight. lol

  9. This could be dangerous. I can see a lot of people swinging at the screen when jar jar pops out in 3D. A lot of rear head injuries and busted knuckles lol.

  10. Isn’t Lucas planning on releasing all the Indiana Jones films in 3D as well? Whats the purpose really.

    • He is, not-so-surprisingly:


      • That’s just sad :(

      • Wow, that is just so wrong. I’d rather they just re-release it in the theaters! I’d love to see Indy back on the big screen, but NOT in 3D!!

        • Amen! What is the point of converting Indiana Jones to 3D? It wasn’t very effects heavy, and the movies are more than capable of standing on their own. The only way I would go see that in theaters would be if Lucas had an introduction before each one where he publicly apologized for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Star Wars Prequels.

  11. Is this a joke? If it’s not… I ain’t going, in fact no one should see this and teach Lucas a lesson. We ain’t fools!

  12. “…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.”

    Why start having respect for the source material now? You didn’t bother with that pesky detail in 1999.

    • LOL, Jessie – I was thinking the same thing!

  13. Great another re-hash of a horrible movie that will kick a more deserving (possibly) movie out of the theater.
    Devil = Exil
    Evil = Lucas
    Lucas = Devil.

  14. Ok lets see, mark my Calendar for Feb 10th, 2012, make sure I do not go near any theater in case I may accidently see this travesty of a film. Lucas has taken all the money he will ever see from me.

  15. i loved the original triliogy and all the Indy films, but simply no. This isn’t like Avatar where it was specifically for 3D… rather this is like Clash of the Titans: just slapping 3D on to try and take advantage of a recent trend. Helli won’t even see episodes 4-6. Lucas is first and foremost a business man: he know how to market a product to death and milk it dry.

  16. So owning the crap isnt enough, we have to see it in 3D and pay 3D prices….I’m gonna say no. I only like that movie cause of Qui-Gon, and Darth Maul and they both die so no.

  17. While I do not have the same amount of hate towards the prequel trilogy that most of have (I actually enjoy them) I think I’d rather see the original trilogy in 3D, or just re-released in theaters.

    • re-released only

  18. Yes ceratinly the Indiana Jones trilogy doesn’t need the

  19. Yes certainly the Indiana Jones trilogy doesn’t need the 3D conversion, despite all the supernatural elements those films relied on practical effects and stuntwork which is what made them so special in the first place. The weak use of CGI in Crystal Skull is further testament to that. If Phantom Menace was one of the most disappointing films of the 90s then Crystal Skull was one of the biggest letdowns of the noughties.

    • Crystal Skull was great!!! Well, it was pretty good.

      • Cyrstal Skull was great until the refrigerator scene. From there it was all downhill.


  20. Are you guys serious! This is Star Wars were talking about, the best bloody trilogy in my book. George Lucas is a creative genius so of course I’ll go and watch it.
    I for one thought all the star wars episodes were quite good, especially episodes 2 and 3. I loved the guys who played Anakin skywalker and Obi wan but i do understand you can’t please everyone and that there will always be haters.

    What i would love George Lucas to do is start making films for the Thrawn Trilogy.

    • @ legendkiller

      I agree with ya. I didn’t become a Star Wars fan till after i saw Episode 1 on vhs with friends, somehow i got hooked. So i only saw Episodes 2&3 in theaters. I got all 6 films & enjoy all of them. My favorites would be Episodes 3 & 6. Im glad im gonna the chance to see all six films in the theater, if it comes to the one nearest to me that is. I had goosebumps at Episode 3 when seeing & hearing breathing come from Darth Vader’s mask. And when Owen Beru Lars have Luke in their arms, i say to myself ( The galaxy awaits the return of the Jedi).

      • Wally!!! 3 and 6 are my favourites too!!!!!! But I have seen all six at the cinema, and I am very excited to see them all on the big screen once again!

        • @ Dr.SamBeckett

          I guess you’re lucky in a way. I wasn’t even born or too young to see the original trilogy in theaters first time. And id hate to wait all those years for Episodes 1-3. I wished i seen Episode 1 in theaters but now i can, along with the rest of the 5 episodes. I don’t care if they’re in 3d, i just wanna see all six films on the big screen once. If only they would do the same with the Christopher Reeve Superman films aswell as other films i never got the chance to see in theaters,lol.

    • Blasphemy. George Lucas USED to be a creative genius, but he has let that all go to hell. Although I do agree about the Thrawn Trilogy. Those were some damn good books.

  21. Haters! I’m excited!

    • @ Dr.SamBeckett

      I gotta ask, Why do people hate the prequels?

      • Just watch Red Letter Media’s epic reviews, and you’ll see why.

  22. Um, yeah. I’d rather see a KOTR movie thank you very much. I always thought both of those games would make better movies than Episodes I-III.

    • Won’t happen, not while Lucas is still alive.

      But what I think they should do is make straight to DVD movies, look at the quality of both The Old Republic and The Force Unleashed CGI trailers, they are comparable to live action in both terms of action and emotion.
      And they wouldnt be too expensive to make. That would be the way forward.

  23. Either way I’d rather sit through that than Episodes 1 through 3 again. I’ll stick to the original Star Wars Trilogy, though to its credit somewhat, I thought Episodes II and III were better than Phantom Menace, my biggest gripe was Jar-Jar. Well, that and how they wasted Darth Maul.

    • Every time Jar-Jar walked into a scene I felt the urge to beat the living crap out of him. Talk about a annoying unfunny character.

  24. I actually like The Phantom Menace. I prefer it to Attack Of The Clones

  25. This could maybe be worth seeing, depends on how good people will say it looks though.
    And for all the bad decisions that George Lucas has made, I still have an enormous amount of respect for the guy, he has done so much for the movie industry ILM for one. He has also influenced so many people on how the way movies are made, especially Sci-Fi ones. He has also made up one of the coolest galaxy’s ever. Heck if it wasn’t for this guy we wouldn’t have known about the Force and we wouldn’t have one of the coolest weapons ever imagined, the freaking Light-saber. So yes I do respect George Lucas and I’m not going to hate his guts for just for some bad decisions that he has made, because in my book he has more than made up for it.

    • The man has just gone crazy. He ruined the OT with the Special (crap) Editions, and then the prequels.

      He’s made soo many horrible decisions that he’s pretty much just destroyed his own universe. Turning Vader into a whinny girl, and turning The Force into an STD are only two of the numerous bad decisions he’s made.

  26. even tho i hate 3d this might actually be kool

    • If you hate 3D I have to assume that you wear an eye patch so you won’t have to be exposed to something you hate.

  27. lol at people that “HATE 3D!!!”…I will assume you’re all old and start every other story with “back in my day…”

  28. Why remake star wars episodes while you can just make an entirely new one based on the book the thrawn trilogy. Make the bloody books into movies lucas……come on….

    • Now that is one trilogy of books that I would love to see be turned into movies, those books were awesome! The only thing about it is all the actors for it are to old to play their characters anymore. The movie would have to be animated or be done in CGI, and I wouldn’t really wont either of those. Sides I don’t any thing like that will be happening any time soon, at least not in tell George Lucas dies and somebody else gets the rights to it all.

      • Why can’t you just get new actors then? Nothing is wrong with the old episodes but i guess to make the thrawn trilogy he might have to remake the old movies which I’m betting lucas so does not want to do. Only if he’s dead i guess i might happen not that I’m wishing or anything but just saying.

        • @”Why can’t you just get new actors then?”

          B/c there would be a huge backlash for re-casting Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia (SP?). The only way a new trilogy could work is if it was set decades after ROTJ, and have the original cast (playing older versions of the characters).

  29. I might see em all. I Will be there opening night for Empire tho.