Despite his recent claim that he was inspired to do this by the success of Avatar, this was a project Lucas declared as something he wanted to do several years ago. I could be mistaken, but I believe it was even discussed before Revenge of the Sith opened. I was under the impression that Lucas already had ILM hard at work readying the original films for 3D.
Reports also indicate that the release of the whole series is also contingent upon the success of The Phantom Menace in 2012. Lucas will use its box office take as a barometer for determining whether to continue releasing the remainder of the series theatrically. Even if this doesn't pan out (and it's hard to imagine fans not attending a re-release of any of these movies), it's pretty clear that Lucas's ultimate goal is to have Star Wars ready should 3D TV's and Blu-ray players penetrate the market the way manufacturers hope. Which, really, is strange because this is the same guy who really resisted releasing these movies on DVD, showing a lack of faith in the format at a time when it had much more support than does 3D.
|Digital 3D should be easy for the Prequels|
Before anyone dismisses the Star Wars 3D re-releases as another after-the-fact conversion project, let's not forget this is George Lucas. If anyone in the world has the will--and the resources--to make this work, it's him. This is, after all, the guy who founded Industrial Light & Magic because no other effects house was capable of delivering what he wanted for the first film. Attack of the Clones was the first motion picture filmed entirely digitally because he believed that the technology would revolutionize the shooting process. This 3D plan is not one of artistry, but of technology. And because of that, I believe it will work.
And, really, who among us doesn't want to see lightsaber duels in 3D?