Star Wars Bits: 3D Prequel Re-Releases Canned; J.J. Abrams Briefly Comments On His Hiring

Until last year, the best way to milk additional theatrical coin out of the Star Wars franchise seemed to be releasing the films in 3D remasters. The process started with the 3D release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which hit theaters in February 2012. That release didn't do all that well, and with the announcement of Star Wars Episode VII, Disney and LucasFilm are now ready to concentrate only on that film.

So the 3D versions of Episode II and III won't be released this year as planned. Deadline confirms with LucasFilm reps that LucasFilm now wants to focus on "rebooting the franchise" with the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode VII, scripted by Michael Arndt. We don't know if the 3D conversions of the prequels might be released at some point in the future.

After the break, quizzed on his new directing gig, J.J. Abrams surprises no one by avoiding specifics, and others react to the news.

Since Abrams was announced as the new Star Wars director a few days ago, discussion of the new film turned into a swirl of speculation and reactions to the fact that Star Wars and Star Trek are now, in a way, united by one creative force. Peter was extensively quoted in USA Today, for example, saying,

It's the ability to get the audience to care about the characters on a much deeper level. Lucas' Star Wars characters were iconic but not much more than archetypes that may have now been copied over and over to become film stereotypes. Abrams will be able to bring a deeper connection to the characters and moments in Episode VII.

And Fanboys director Kyle Newman, a long-time fan of Star Wars, responded to the hire with a long examination of both series and defense of Abrams as director of Wars and Trek.

But what about comments from the director himself? At the PGA Awards this weekend, Abrams told E! Online that being hired to make a new Star Wars film is "wildly surreal," and deferred any real talk of the script, saying "It's obviously way too early to talk specifics." Given the nature of this project, and the secrecy that Abrams likes to bring to all his work, we should get ready for a barrage of content-free quotes. He told the Huffington Post, for example,

I can just say what I want to do: I want to do the fans proud. I want to make sure the story is something that touches people. And we're just getting started. I'm very excited.

With Episode VII set for a 2015 release, we've got at least a year, and probably two, of similar dancing around specifics. Those who want real info on Episode VII: be prepared to wait a good while longer. In fact, THR says that Abrams isn't fully committed to the 2015 release date, and cautions that the film may be released later if the development process warrants it.

[Header image by Bob Thiele]