A Letter to George Lucas About 3D

Dear Mr. Lucas,

I am writing to you as a fan of your Star Wars franchise, not a hater.  Your movies sparked my imagination as a child and helped launch my passion for cinema, speculative fiction, and pop culture through adulthood.  I hear that you will be re-releasing the six existing Star Wars movies in trendy 3D.  Far be it for me to tell you how to run your business or optimize the profitability of your franchise.  I am sure the 3D versions of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi will earn another bazillion dollars for Lucasfilm at the box-office.  But is it too much for me to ask that you use some of this marketing passion and creative energy to make some new movies in the saga? (Preferably in the hands of some talented young screenwriters and filmmakers who can carry your vision forward, satisfying both existing fans like me and a whole new generation.)

I am not the only one who finds the current 3D fad annoying.  It would be less off-putting if you announced that you would be making the new Episodes 7, 8, and 9 in 3D.  But why take the original movies, which were filmed in 2D, and alter them?  The results of other motion pictures that have added 3D effects in post-production have not been promising.  Even if your Industrial Light and Magic whiz kids can do their special effects sorcery again and stun the world by making it work, the question remains -- why?  Why keep tampering with the past, like you did with the Special Editions of the original trilogy?  Why not just move forward and try new things with new stories and new adventures?

One quote in particular riled me up and spurred me to write this to you.  John Knoll, your visual effects supervisor at ILM, said in the New York Times yesterday, "There are Blu-ray releases in the pipe for all these pictures.  If you want to enjoy them in their original flatness, they're there to enjoy." 

I am sure Mr. Knoll meant no intentional disparagement to the original films, but some of us do not see the "flatness" of the existing movies as a flaw that needs to be fixed.  I dare say that while watching the original films, I never once thought to myself that I was watching a two-dimensional, flat motion picture.  Such is the joy of the visual illusion of cinema -- we already see depth even in supposedly 2D pictures -- we do not need gimmicky 3D technology to force it upon us. 

I know this letter will not change your mind, but I hope it at least offers you a moment of reflection for the future of the Star Wars franchise.  Fans like me just want to see our favorite characters again on the big screen.  We want to see the storyline set "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" continue with new storylines, new developments, new twists and turns, rather than dwelling in a seemingly never-ending whirlpool of prequels and rehashes of twice-thrice-and-ad-infinitum-told tales.  I hope I live to see that happen and share those new adventures with my own kids.

Thanks for reading.

A Disgruntled but Still Loyal Fan

P.S. I also hear that you might be releasing the 3D versions of the Stars Wars saga out of sequence.  This makes no sense to me.  Why not release them in theaters chronologically, Episode I through Episode VI, instead of jumping to A New Hope after The Phantom Menace?  Mr. Lucas, you have me completely perplexed.  


Mike C said…
Well put, Nick. Nice to hear someone else mention the long-forgotten plans for episodes 7,8, and 9. It seems there was some collective amnesia going on there. I was beginning to think that was just a figment of my imagination that he had originally said there would be a third set of films. Too bad he has chosen to milk the existing franchise instead of taking a chance on continuing the story. I agree that if they made 7, 8, and 9, they should find someone else to direct. I'm pretty convinced at this point that GL is basically a mediocre director who made one great movie.
V.R. LaForge said…
Nick, you get to the root of the 3-D problem when you say "we already see depth." All tech advances are moves towards realism. From b/w to color to high def - we are looking for a more realistic reproduction of images. The current 3D technology - even the best...does not do this. It cannot replicate subtle depth like the shape of a face. Essentially it appears as layered 2d images with mediocre depth effects. And with that effect, our minds don't "fill in" the depth information and the image actually becomes less realistic. Until I feel like I'm watching actors on a stage - keep the 3D in the r&d labs. -Vin