"Star Wars" fans seem angered by 3D release plans

Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:25am EDT
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By Jay A. Fernandez and Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Like a lightsaber to the midsection, reactions to news that George Lucas is planning to rerelease 3D versions of the "Star Wars" sextet have been swift and, more often than not, deadly.

But when the Force actually is with them, will fans be able to stay away?

For every "I'll be first in line," there are another 20-30 Web comments along the lines of "SW is just a machine now," "I'll stay away in droves," "Lucas is beating a dead horse" or "Never have I seen something so amazing be systematically destroyed."

Lucas and Fox plan to rerelease the "Star Wars" franchise in state-of-the-art 3D conversions beginning in 2012 with one film annually led by the much-mocked prequels. That means the original "Star Wars" and its two sequels won't start rolling out until 2015.

The rolling theatrical releases inevitably would set up 3D DVD versions that would facilitate the ultimate home-viewing experience once 3D-capable televisions have become fixtures in four to six years.

A specific date for the first release, "The Phantom Menace," has not been announced, but sources said Fox and Lucas are looking at a mid-February launch.

On paper, the news should be every fanboy's dream. The groundbreaking nature and scope of Lucas's original trilogy, launched in 1977, have practically begged for a 3D treatment to match its ambitions. But for many of the die-hards, that starship has long since sailed.

A lot has happened in the three decades between the theatrical release of "Return of the Jedi" in 1983 and what will be the first of the new 3D versions. For one thing, Lucas made three other movies in the saga, which were almost universally panned. He also has already done several rereleases and recuts of the original trilogy that updated the effects and added new or deleted footage in ways that many found sacrilegious (see: the widespread "Han Shot First" campaign, or Alexandre O. Philippe's documentary "The People vs. George Lucas," which had its world premiere at SXSW this year).   Continued...

<p>A man dressed as Star Wars character Darth Vader poses for photographers at the "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney in this December 3, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz</p>