SAN DIEGO — With just four words — “Revenge of the Sith” — Lucasfilm had 6,500 people standing and screaming as the long-awaited title of “Star Wars: Episode III” was unveiled Saturday. Pic’s skedded for release May 19.
Revelation was greeted with cheers from rabid sci-fi fans at the 35th annual Comic-Con Intl., held in San Diego.
News came not with an announcement but on a piece of clothing, as Lucasfilm head of fan relations Steve Sansweet capped a two-hour “Star Wars” presentation by taking off an outer shirt to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with the pic’s title.
Nearly all of the studios had a presence at Comic-Con, which brought more than 75,000 dedicated comicbook and sci-fi fanatics to an event that has grown to become one of the biggest pop-culture events of the year.
Eager to generate interest among the most dedicated fans — and hopeful they’ll spread the word to others — studios had a bigger presence than ever to tout their upcoming genre releases. Fans were treated to exclusive looks at footage from pics including “Blade: Trinity,” “Alien vs. Predator,” “Constantine” and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” as well as visits from Sarah Michelle Gellar, Keanu Reeves, Jude Law and three of the four members of the recently assembled “Fantastic Four” cast.
Fan favorites who couldn’t make it, including “Batman Begins” star Christian Bale, “Elektra” femme fatale Jennifer Garner and helmer Peter Jackson, whose “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” has an extended DVD planned for later this year, sent video postcards.
Lucasfilm was the only Hollywood player to make major news, though.
Beyond the next pic’s title, Lucasfilm also revealed it’s releasing a DVD of its series of animated shorts “Star Wars: Clone Wars,” which aired on Cartoon Network, and of its ’80s cartoons “Ewok Adventures” and “Droids,” as well as two “Ewoks” telepics. Company said it’s working on more episodes of its Cartoon Net micro-series, which takes place between 2002’s “Attack of the Clones” and the upcoming “Revenge of the Sith.”
Lucasfilm also provided an extended preview of special features from the original “Star Wars” trilogy DVD skedded for September release. In a move sure to boost the cable net’s fanboy demos, reps said an edited version of the DVD’s behind-the-scenes docu, titled “Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy,” will air on A&E this fall.
In addition to the news, fans also drew star power from Lucasfilm, as Carrie Fisher, Hayden Christensen and producer Rick McCallum made appearances.