George Lucas is worth, roughly, $3 billion. Between the takings of the original trilogy, and its 1997 re-release, the three prequels, the TV-spin offs, the video games, the novels, the comic books, the toys, the lunchboxes and the pillowcases, it's fair to say he has a steady income coming in. So luckily, Lucas is able to sit back on focus on that groundbreaking indie cinema he's been talking up for thirty years, his real passion projects, right?
Not so much, no. While the long-delayed "Red Tails" World War Two project is awaiting release some time next year, Lucas is going back to the dry-as-a-bone "Star Wars" well, and is set to re-release all six films in theaters in 3D. Starting with "The Phantom Menace" in 2012, one will be released at the same time (January/February/March) every year, ending with "Return of the Jedi" in 2017 (although this may be sped up if the box-office takings disappoint).
Supposedly, each conversion takes a year to complete, with Lucas personally supervising the process, leaving him plenty of time to make those difficult art movies. Once the process is complete, it'll serve "as a lead-in to the ultimate home viewing experience." At this point, of course, Lucas will be 73 years old, and that much closer to the grave, at which point, he will obviously be able to take all his money to whichever afterlife awaits him.
Of course, it's not just his fault, it's probably yours as well. While the fervent Star Wars fanbase has thinned over the years, thanks to the shoddy, unnecessary prequels, and the general disdain with which Lucas seems to treat his fans, there's still an audience for this -- indeed, when "The Phantom Menace" hits, there'll be seven-year-olds who weren't even born when "Revenge of the Sith" hit theaters. And doesn't every generation deserve to sit through a series of joyless, lifeless, faintly racist prequels revolving around trade embargoes and senate votes before they can get to the good stuff?
Fox will be releasing the films annually from 2012. We're already preparing a detailed academic paper on the self-loathing psychological make-up of people who would choose to pay money to sit through the prequels again. [Heat Vision]