Here is the latest interview with one of our Lucasfilm sources:
Are all the scenes filmed for Episode I going to be used in the film?
"George is a very efficient film maker and will generally try to use all the scenes he films. However, George has filmed some sequences that will not make it into the final edited version of the film. George has decided not to use certain scenes in the first edition of the film. George said it would be neat to add these scenes in later special editions in order to breath new life into these films. But I have no idea what scenes are in and which are out at this point. The movie still remains fluid and very malleable. This is a luxury that no other film maker has ever enjoyed before. If it works, George may change the way that the studios film their high-budget films in the future."
When is Lucasfilm going to re-release the Trilogy Special Edition back in the cinemas?
"Not very soon. George plans to re-release the Trilogy once every 10 to 20 years like the way Disney re-releases it's classic animated films every 10 years or so. George believes that Star Wars is a classic story that needs to be retold to each succeeding generation. Don't expect to see the trilogy re-released until after 2005."
When will Episode 1 be released on video cassette?
"Most motion pictures today are released to video about six months after their theatrical release. George believes this tactic may be something that actually harms or undermines the initial box-office release. He believes the longer he waits to release the film on video the more times the fans will watch the film in the theater. Episode 1 will probably not be released on video until the holiday season in 2000."
Is Skywalker Ranch prepared for the year 2000 problem?
"That problem is someone else's headache, but I'm sure adequate precautions will be in place."
Why not let the fans know which character names are real?
"Part of the fun is that none of the fans know what is true and false until after Lucasfilm confirms the rumors. Also, some of the rumored names may not make it into the final edit of the film so certain names cannot be confirmed until George is certain that he will stick with the name."
Is the plot line to Episode 1 still changing?
"George peruses the rough edit and finds some of the scenes do not adequately portray his vision. Some of the problems we can correct digitally. The ones that we can't fix have to be fixed by re-shooting old or filming new scenes. Much of this film still remains largely in George's mind. Only George knows the answer to how much more the Episode 1 plot line will evolve, improve and change."
At the end of Return of the Jedi: Special Edition, the people of Coruscant push over a statue of Palpatine. In the right hand of this statue, Palpatine can be seen holding a mysterious orb. Is it the Kiburr Chyrstal or something else that will be important to the prequels?
"Not sure. George hasn't shared the plot line to the entire Prequel Trilogy with me and he probably never will. I didn't work on that FX sequence for the special editions so I have no idea what significance if any that the orb may have. It could be some kind of enchanted Force orb or it could just be some kind of physical symbol that represents the power of the Emperor."
How will the prequels change our perception of the classic trilogy?
"Some of the changes will be obvious and sometimes striking in nature. Some of the changes will be ambiguous and subject to debate. Some of the changes will enthrall and please the fans while others may not be well liked. I'm sure after you've seen the movie you will spend countless hours arguing over how certain scenes either did or did not change the classic trilogy."
Is working at ILM a permanent career job?
"ILM is the number one special-effects house in the entertainment industry. It's the place where most special-effects artists want to work at. However, it is probably never going to be your final career choice because there is always someone else throwing money at you wanting to use your expertise in their films. After my job requirements with the prequels are finished, I will probably move on to one of these higher-paying positions at another company, but I try not to think about that right now. I want to put all my time and energy into Episode 1."
When is George Lucas going to produce the Sequel Trilogy?
"At this point, George only laughs when asked that question. He's going to have a tough enough time finishing the Prequel Trilogy. There is still alot of technology we need to develop and perfect for Ep 2 and 3. George took a ten year plus break from Star Wars after Ep 6: ROTJ. Quite frankly after Ep 3 comes out in 2005, you can pretty much expect that George won't consider making the sequels until probably 2015."
Do we get to see the death of Padme Amidala in the prequels?
"George doesn't discuss particular plot points with his employees unless they are absolutely needed for the FX sequence that you're working on. I haven't heard a word about Padme's death. While Ep 3 will be the darkest and most depressing episode of the Prequel Trilogy, I believe it is very premature to speculate on this plot point. If I had to take a stab at this though, I would say that George will not show her death in the Prequel Trilogy."
Why doesn't George Lucas write any of the Star Wars novels?
"A lack of time on his part and he is writing the prequel scripts so that is essentially the equivalent of writing three novels."
Will the novels, comics, LucasArts games, etc. have an impact on what we see in the prequels?
"Only George and Rick McCallum can tell you that. George's philosophy with Ep 1 has been to avoid conflicting with all those sources when he can. He actually has employee whose job it is to make sure the Ep 1 story line doesn't conflict with the canon that is out there, but if George really likes an idea he will use it even if it contradicts what we all believe to be canon. For instance, in the ROTJ novelization, Obi Wan tells Luke that Anakin fell into a molten lava pit during their near-mythic light saber duel. This is something George may entirely ignore in order to change our perception of the classic trilogy."
What's the best part about working on the prequel?
"The artistic freedom that George allows you to exercise. He'll give you a general idea of what he's looking for in a FX sequence then he will let his people work on it. Every so often, he'll come back and tell you what he likes and doesn't like. So each employee is able to put at least a small personal stamp onto this film, which makes the hard work easier to bare." (Source: Anonymous Lucasfilm Informant)