Tuesday, January 29, 2013

3D Star Wars Postponed! Episode VII Postponed? Postponed!

Weird things are happening to Star Wars as it begins to slowly metamorphosize into something new. Distancing itself from the lumbering caterpillar of the prequels, now Star Wars appears to be weaving itself into a tight cocoon, shutting out extraneous forces so it can grow its new wings in peace. What am I even talking about? Well...

According to the official Star Wars site:
“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.”

What does this all mean? I have some wild speculation... after the jump!

Firstly, I think the notion of blaming the shelving of Attack of the Clones 3D and Revenge of the Sith 3D on “the recent development” of “a new Star Wars trilogy” is just a little bit disingenuous. Surely it’s not like Lucasfilm was taken by surprise that they were being sold to Disney. Both the 3D releases and the recent acquisition must have been in the pipeline for quite some time and the plan was obviously to release these regardless of the sale. So what has changed?

The only thing I can think of (I have no idea, bear in mind) is that George Lucas is no longer at the helm. While Lucas was in charge I guess he still had faith that the 3D prequels could survive in the cinema this year but, now he’s officially out of the picture, plans appear to have changed. My guess is that has absolutely nothing to do with the independently developing Episode VII and is more about the new Star Wars team distancing themselves from the less-than-well-received episodes 2 and 3. The news of the Episode VII and now J.J. Abrams has put out some of the first real positive mainstream buzz about Star Wars in a long time, and I’m sure that Disney would much rather be looking forward than looking back.

But this has to be a late decision because even what we’ve seen of the 2013 merchandising plans seemed focused on the Episode II and III releases, just like last year’s merchandise focused mostly on Episode I. Packaging we’ve been shown pictures either a lightsaber wielding Yoda from Episode II or the rising from the flames Vader of Episode III. Remember how our Lego Star Wars Advent calendar had a Santa Darth Maul? Reports from the recent UK Toy Fair reveal that this years has a Santa Jango Fett. It was all supposed to align but now it’s not.

My “cocoon” metaphor might seem like a stretch but recent news does suggest to me that Star Wars is going into hibernation for a while so that it can present itself anew. Hasbro cancelled the first waves of collector oriented Star Wars figures for the year, giving us one of the longest stretches without anything for quite some time. Even the animated Clone Wars seems like it might be on its last legs as it begins the process of killing off the major characters that don’t appear in Episode III. I am extremely curious to hear announcements of future plans from both Hasbro and the Clone Wars teams. Change is definitely a foot.

And I guess Star Wars can, to a degree, afford to shut down for a while. There should be no question that Episode VII, when it materialises, will be a huge event and there will be a crap-ton of merchandise to support it. All of the associated companies, for the moment, can bide their time. I wonder if we’ll ever seen the 3D prequels released at all. Surely though there is an impetus to get Episodes IV, V and VI into theatres before the release of VII so that kids get a chance to experience them and know what the hell is going on.

And the one other thing that may have changed? The other rumour is that J.J. Abrams committed to directing but didn’t commit to the 2015 release date. As we’ve seen with the long-awaited Star Trek sequel, Abrams has no interest in rushing films into production. He likes to take the necessary time to get it right. And this means that Episode VII itself could be postponed until beyond 2015, which could be another determining factor in pushing back those 3D prequels. And if that’s the case, I think Lucasfilm knows a lot more about the realistic timeline here than they are letting on.

Personally I would love to see some new Star Wars as soon as possible. I think ILM should attach some of those Doctor Octopus mechanical arms to J.J. Abram’s spine so that he can be a better multitasker, and perhaps find a way to stop him from sleeping entirely. Come on, J.J! That’s what an adult would do. More I guess when it breaks...

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