To many STAR WARS fans, the name of Producer Rick McCallum is almost synonymous with creator George Lucas. McCallum is one of the people responsible for bringing STAR WARS back to theatres, and bringing it back to the limelight that sci-fi fans had been hungering for. McCallum was on hand at last week’s Saturn Awards in Los Angeles where he accepted the award of best science fiction film for STAR WARS: EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH. After the awards iF caught up with McCallum and got the goods on STAR WARS 3D, the new STAR WARS TV SERIES, and the release of the comprehensive STAR WARS film series DVD set.
iF MAGAZINE: What can you tell us about the 3D versions of the STAR WARS films?
RICK MCCALLUM: 3D we’re working on, and it’s just a question of how many theatres are out there. Hopefully by the end of this year there will be about fifteen hundred theatres. We need about two or three thousand before it makes it viable for any of us to go forward with 3D. That looks like it’s going to happen sometime in the year 2007, so I am unbelievably happy about that. The 3D is something I’m really happy with. We’re not sure when the technology will be totally there. I think there are a lot of major filmmakers interested. [James] Cameron is interested in re-doing TITANIC and TERMINATOR 2. Peter [Jackson] wants to do all of the LORD OF THE RINGS movies. We want to do all six STAR WARS, and we know there is hunger out there. There is a dimensionalization process by a company called M3 that we’re all working with. They have proprietary software that creates a double image that produces a 3D effecting post-production after you’ve filmed a 2D film. It’s amazing. You use wonderful glasses that are flicker free, they are hooked up to a wireless transmitter in the theatre. It has to be digital cinema, that’s our problem. That’s what makes it great, and it makes it a problem because there aren’t enough theatres out there to make fiscal sense.
iF: Are you working on another animated series as well?
MCCALLUM: There’s an animated series being done right now, so that won’t be for another year. That’s something really good that will be picking up from the CLONE WARS.
iF: What’s the word on the upcoming STAR WARS TV SERIES?
MCCALLUM: I can’t talk to you much about the TV show. The STAR WARS TV SERIES probably won’t be for another couple of years. We’ve just started the basic concept. We’re interviewing writers, and seeing a lot of people, but I would say it wouldn’t be happening for about eighteen months. Don’t believe a single thing [you’ve heard]. It happens between EPISODE III [REVENGE OF THE SITH] and EPISODE IV [STAR WARS]. It will be all new characters. It will be the missing twenty-year period during Luke growing up. Think about bounty hunter, that’s all I can tell you. It’s no one else that you will know. It’s really early stages, and we haven’t sat down to decide what direction to go.
iF: Are there plans to release a comprehensive STAR WARS series DVD boxed set?
MCCALLUM: Absolutely. I don’t know when, but definitely you will see one. The problem is we don’t have a studio that does this for us. We do everything ourselves, so it takes a long time. We have to plan out the time, and sit down and decide how we’re going to do it. You’ll be happy I guarantee.
iF: How do you feel looking back at the response to the prequel trilogy?
MCCALLUM: [George Lucas] knew exactly what he was getting into with EPISODE I and EPISODE II; those were for a whole new audience of ten and twelve year old boys. By the time that audience was eighteen SITH came out, so it was a totally different generation. He didn’t make them for the old hardcore STAR WARS fans; he was making it for a new generation. Forget about box-office gross, and think about admissions. The films were incredibly successful, especially EPISODE I.
iF: Do you know about FAN BOYS?
MCCALLUM: Yeah, we know the director. He came and shot a day at the ranch. I know the writer very well, and I’m excited about that. I’m not in it. Well, I shot a little thing but I doubt it will ever be in the movie. George isn’t in it. It’s fantastic, and the script is great. It’s like SIDEWAYS, plus they’re going to EPISODE I, so it should be a great little film.
iF: What other projects are on the boards for you?
MCCALLUM: We have another film that we want to do called RED TAILS [about World War II's Tuskegee Airmen who were the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron], so we’re going to be starting that.