In February 2012, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox re-released Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 3D to moderate success; the film added $43.4 million to its already astronomical domestic total. It was meant to be the first step in a plan to distribute the then six film saga theatrically in the premium format, but then things changed. In October 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm for the grand sum of $4 billion, and one of their first orders of business was to scrap the intended 2013 premieres of Attack of the Clones 3D and Revenge of the Sith 3D in order to focus on what would become Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Still, the post-conversion on the movies had already been completed, and Lucasfilm didn’t want their work to go to waste. Both Episode II and Episode III eventually saw the light of day via screenings at Star Wars Celebration events in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Now, fans who own 3D televisions may have an opportunity to see all three prequels in the third dimension themselves, thanks to the rumored release of a new boxed set.
According to The Digital Bits, Lucasfilm is contemplating a collection that would include The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Awakens all on 3D Blu-ray, as well as a fifth disc with exclusive bonus features. Apparently, the plan is to have it out on store shelves in time for the holidays, most likely coinciding with the December 2016 theatrical premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
If this pans out, it would be the first time Episode VII is made available in 3D on home media. The release from this past spring saw several collector’s packagings and special content, but the 2D version was the one on all the discs. One has to wonder if Disney/Lucasfilm would consider producing a standalone Force Awakens 3D Blu-ray, so consumers who are only interested in that movie have another option. Something like this proposed set certainly won’t be cheap, and while the prequels have their fair share of supporters, there are also many Star Wars fans out there who wouldn’t want to splurge on Episodes I – III in order to get The Force Awakens in 3D.
The timing of this is arguably quite odd, since 3DTV has waned in popularity over the years. According to a report from CNET earlier this year, 3D models have seen a stark decrease in sales since 2012; they currently count for only 16 percent of the total market, while 3D Blu-ray players account for just 25 percent compared to standard 2D. It would appear that the novelty of the format has worn off. With the demand for 3D home entertainment so low, there’s a chance this hypothetical set isn’t worth the investment by Lucasfilm – even if it is something Star Wars. Many fans already own all of the films on digital or Blu-ray, and probably wouldn’t be too keen on purchasing the necessary materials to watch them in 3D.
Several viewers would most likely rather Lucasfilm concentrates their efforts on making a Blu-ray boxed set of the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy, which is something that would sell phenomenally well. That may eventually come to be, but for now, fans will have to make do with what the studio is offering. They’ve given people a plethora of options, each one with its own perks to entice purchases. The Lucasfilm archive is chock full of interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits, so there’s bound to be something fascinating on this set.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.