Star Wars: totally digital

Of the “Star Wars” episodes he is now writing, George Lucas says, “I’d like to see the whole thing finished so I have episodes one through six all done and it’s a complete thing, because the first three are mostly background for the other ones. Everything in the three that are done now will make a lot more sense when you know the context in which they happened.”

The trilogy will be entirely financed by Lucasfilms and shot back-to-back “like a TV series,” says Lucas, using digital production techniques.

The schedule: 1996, pre-production casting, set-building, some second-unit action sequences to be shot. 1997, the bulk of shooting on the three pictures will be completed. 1998: first film release.

Budgets on each of the three films: $50 million to $70 million.

The three existing episodes, “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi,” have together grossed more than $500 million domestically, $1.3 billion worldwide total.

No distrib has yet been set for the pics. Twentieth Century Fox, which produced the first three, lost the sequel rights when Marvin Davis sold the studio to Rupert Murdoch.

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