I don’t know of a lot of people who don’t think that George Lucas’ plan to convert all six Star Wars films into 3D is a good idea. Oh sure, there are plenty of fans out there at prospect of paying extra to see the films on the big screen again in a format that they were not originally designed to be seen in. It’s just that after years of Lucas making changes to his films, the feelings of people in my social circle over this have ranged from apathetic to outright
It looks like Lucas’ right-hand man Rick McCullum has at least an inkling that converting these films to 3D might be unpopular with a certain sector of fans. In an interview with CzechPosition (via the folks at First Showing), McCullum stated that poor ticket sales for the first of the 3D conversions, The Phantom Menace, could stop the plan dead in its tracks.
We’re doing 3D versions of all six films, one a year, starting in February of next year. We start with [episode] one and go all the way through six, totally chronological. One a year, if they work. If they don’t, then there will be just one [episode converted to 3D].
Normally, I don’t root for a movie to fail, even if its a movie or franchise I don’t like. But I can’t help to hope that McCullum is telling the truth and poor box office will lead Lucas to abandon this blatant cash grab that comes at people’s good-will towards the films themselves.
Of course, by starting off with the absolute least-liked film in the franchise, Lucas is almost guaranteeing that people will stay away from this in droves. I’ve always been confused by Lucas’s desire to release these films starting with the prequel trilogy first as watching them in order of Episode 1 to Episode 6 undercuts the drama of the Luke-Darth Vader storyline in the final two installments.
And let’s face it, if Lucas started with the original trilogy, the very first image people would see in 3D would be the iconic opening of the original Star Wars of the gigantic Imperial Star Destroyer gliding over the audiences head in pursuit of the relatively tiny Rebel Blockade Runner. And despite my own feelings on converting the films to 3D, I do think that image is the absolute perfect way to start off such a venture.
I think that Lucas may have shot himself in the foot here.