Disney Delays Star Wars 3D Re-Releases

For some reason, Disney doesn't want to remind audiences about the prequels before Episode VII comes out.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

One of the last orders of business at Lucasfilm before handing the Star Wars franchise over to Disney were 3D re-releases of the entire prequel trilogy. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D was released last year to little fanfare, and both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were scheduled for the fall season this year. There wasn't much of a reason to do this in the first place, beyond novelty value and a quick buck from diehard fans, but now that Episode VII is planned for 2015 or so with J.J. Abrams at the helm of an all-new adventure, it seems that Disney doesn't particularly want to remind audiences of the last couple of films in the franchise. The 3D re-release of both movies has been "delayed." We use quotation marks because when you delay something indefinitely, with no indication whatsoever of when you might actually get back to it, it's functionally the same as a cancellation.

Deadline originally reported on the "delay," citing Disney's interest in focusing on Star Wars: Episode VII instead of revisiting earlier films in the franchise. The obvious question raised now is how far along the 3D conversion process for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith was when the sword of Damocles finally fell. Was the work so far from being completed that not releasing the films saves everyone money, or were they pretty far along already (lord knows they've been planned for long enough to get a significant amount of the process started)? In other words, was this strictly a practical decision, or is Disney's primary motivation to not remind audiences of the critically-panned prequel trilogy, in order to raise interest in their theoretically brand-new take on the Star Wars universe?

Original reports claimed that the re-releases were cancelled outright, but Lucasfilm was quick to shoot back an official response to the story clarifying the "delay" (courtesy of Coming Soon): "Lucasfilm has decided to postpone this fall's scheduled release of Star Wars Episodes II and III in 3D. Given the recent development that we are moving forward with a new Star Wars trilogy, we will now focus 100 percent of our efforts on Star Wars: Episode VII in order to ensure the best possible experience for our fans. We will post further information about our 3D release plans at a later date."

That statement is pointedly vague, but does indicate that they still have "3D release plans," which may at least mean that the 3D versions will eventually be seen on home video, if not necessarily their original theatrical release. It's still a little suspect, however. Was the post-production 3D conversion team really needed to develop the new movies and put them in pre-production? We suppose it's plausible.

Is anyone disappointed by this development? Did you have your hearts set on Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in 3D sooner rather than later? We'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel, the co-host of The B-Movies Podcast and the co-star of The Trailer Hitch. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.