The first one-sheet poster design promoting the upcoming 3D theatrical release of STAR WARS Episode I – THE PHANTOM MENACE unfurled on the interwebs today courtesy of Bleeding Cool. PHANTOM MENACE returns to theaters in February 2012 sporting a new 3D transfer of the prequel chapter which opened the STAR WARS trilogy of backstories in 1999. Update: FilmEdge now offers a hi-res poster file for downloading direct from Lucasfilm.
Darth Maul dominates the poster design as his double-bladed lightsaber extends outside the artwork borders along with two pod racers, while Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and the CG-updated Yoda look mildly perturbed by the Sith warrior. We can only presume that Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) still appear in the 3D upconversion even though they didn’t make the cut on the poster image.
The question remains how will fans (diehards or the merely curious) support the re-release of Episode I which has a Luke-warm reputation among the six STAR WARS films, thanks largely to Jar Jar Binks’ unpopularity as a central character in the film. Some reports hint that if PHANTOM MENACE 3D doesn’t succeed at box offices, saga creator George Lucas may not proceed converting the five remaining films to 3D for annual re-releases per episode.
Many, like FilmEdge, still question why Lucas is willing to foot the expense of such a technically delicate 3D conversion for all six films, yet still refuses to release the unaltered Original Trilogy of Episodes IV-VI on Blu-ray when the main excuse for this omission is that their restoration would cost too much. One might easily guess that massive sales from a Blu-quality upgrade of the original Original Trilogy (before they were edited for their Special Edition re-releases) would make Lucasfilm yet another mint of money, and thus easily fund 3D conversions of the entire Saga. Difficult to see is the logic behind the Maker’s strategy here.
STAR WARS Episode I – THE PHANTOM MENACE returns to theaters in Real 3D, Digital 3D and — for some reason — in 2D at select theaters on Feburary 10th, 2012. Look for a promo trailer in theaters next week, reportedly attached to THE THREE MUSKETEERS remake.