LOS ANGELES - George Lucas is set to re-release the six "Star Wars" films in 3D, beginning in 2012 with one film annually led by "The Phantom Menace."
Though the 3D versions have been rumored for some time, Lucas was evidently waiting until there were enough 3D screens available to make the release a sizable enough event.
Fox, which released all six of the original "Star Wars" films, would also release the 3D versions.
"The Phantom Menace," originally released in 1999, would be first out of star-dock in the early months of 2012. After that, each of the films would be released in order at the same time each consecutive year, depending on how well the first re-release does. That means the original "Star Wars" and its sequels won't start rolling out until 2015.
Each conversion takes at least a year to complete, with Lucas personally overseeing the process. He has said that "Avatar" convinced him that "Star Wars" was ready for the state-of-the-art 3D treatment.
Also pushing the timetable is a potential breakthrough in 3D television technology. With Samsung penetrating the market with 50,000-plus 3D-equipped televisions and Sony sending its version to market in recent months, the home-viewing experience could be primed for 3D DVD versions of the classic films by the time the new 3D series runs its course.
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