If you are a fan of the galaxy far, far away, you know that Star Wars is coming back to the theaters in 2012. The films of the saga will be released sequentially according to episode number. That means it will start with Episode I, The Phantom Menace on February 10, 2012; subsequent films will be released in 3D at the rate of one a year. The catch is that Lucasfilm won’t spend a ton of money on the conversion process if fans don’t make a good showing. If we don’t get to theaters to see The Phantom Menace, we may not get to see the 3D version of A New Hope. This comes from producer Rick McCallum.
A lot of articles are going around that are full of hate and listing reasons why it won’t work. The reasons include: people hate the prequels, people hate 3D, Lucas is just trying to get as much money from us as possible, etc. Here’s how I look at it: it’s Star Wars in the theater again. Fans will come. We’re dependable that way. I don’t love The Phantom Menace, but I’ll be in line with my lightsaber. The 3D could even improve the movie. I’m especially thinking of the podracing scenes and the underwater home of the Gungans. I think fans will come in droves because we haven’t been able to line up at a theater together for years. Plus, think of all the kids that have never seen Star Wars on the big screen. And if fans know the fate of all the films being converted to 3D rests on The Phantom Menace, we’ll make it our mission to go. We may not see it repeatedly, but we’ll show up at least once. Lucas really does want people to see the movies sequentially. It seems like a sound financial decision to hold off preparing the other movies if no one turns up.
In addition to the general hate, an article on Slashfilm makes this statement:
“But honesty or true fan appreciation have never really been synonymous with Star Wars post 1997.”
My love for Star Wars began around 1997. I saw Episodes IV-VI for the first time when they were re-released in theaters before the prequels. The animated film then television show Star Wars: The Clone Wars pushed me over the edge into revisiting this universe and becoming obsessed. Part of the reason that happened is because of the connection Lucasfilm fosters with fans.
Last year, I ran into Steve Sansweet (Head of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm until two months ago) at San Diego Comic-Con. He’s a busy guy, but it didn’t stop him from talking to me about being a Star Wars fan. The same thing happened with Dave Filoni, Supervising Director of The Clone Wars. They take the time to listen and say thank you. And it’s genuine gratitude. Sansweet, Filoni, voice talent from the animated series, and behind the scenes employees of Lucasfilm take the time to call into a fan podcast – The Forcecast – on a regular basis and answer questions not only from the hosts, but also from random listeners who call in. They don’t give canned answers either.
One only has to attend a Star Wars Celebration for a few hours to see that it is an event that is made for and dedicated to fans. So many people involved in the Star Wars universe are there and accessible – actors from the films, techs, everyone that works on The Clone Wars (well, a lot of them anyways), and so many more. Lucasfilm is very aware that people have devoted almost thirty-five years of love to this saga, and they respect it. If someone doesn’t think they’ve shown true fan appreciation since 1997, I don’t think he or she is really paying attention.