After this Disney deal, I'd be kinda surprised if LFL used the (now ancient) Lowry master as a basis for the 3D conversion of the OT. They need a high-quality 4K source to start from. For TPM, they used the original filmout tapes (since TPM was made just before the DI era), which were used to make the theatrical prints back in '99. AOTC and ROTS still presumably have their highest quality digital cinema masters intact, so those 3D conversions will at least be up to par so far as the source is concerned (the quality of the conversion will be another matter).
The OT should still be considered a film-based project, and thus in need of a 4K rebuild. The only potential problem is that sizable chunks of the movies have now gone through the computer (for the digital recompositing) or been rendered from scratch, in both cases at a limited resolution (presumably 2K if we're talking 1996).
Ideally, Disney would write a check for the kind of treatment Blade Runner got for its Final Cut. That would mean redoing the digital recompositing at 6K this time around. Also, I'm wondering if ILM still at least has the final renders for the cgi shots (I'm wondering the same thing about Jurassic Park). For the Lowry transfer in '04, I'm pretty sure they just scanned in the '97 shots off the negative (there's still some noticeable film-based anomalies even in those completely cgi shots), but it would be nice if they could just use the direct digital source for the 3D conversion, instead of having to pull it off the negative. I wonder if it would even be possible to re-render those shots at 4K .....
Then there's the matter of preserving the OOT and, ideally, the '97 SE as well. If the missing pieces were in fact put into storage, it's a simple matter of scanning everything in. The o-neg is currently in its '97 conformation, so they've got the SE version all ready to go right there, given the proper color-timing, of course. It would be great if they could just use the o-neg as a basis for all three projects:
-'97 SE (scan, color time and you're done)
-OOT (scan the missing pieces, color time, you're done)
-3D version / "Final Cut" treatment (redo the recomps and cgi at a higher res, convert movies to 3D, you're done)
If they follow the Final Cut model exactly, they'll simply use existing interpositives for the older versions. That would still be a huge step up from anything that's been officially released thus far, but:
1) the '85 interpositives are grainy as hell, and
2) In world where we have meticulously de-specialized fan edits using the lowry (negative scan) transfer as a basis, yeah, it would be a tad ridiculous not to use the negative for an official release of the OOT as well.
What do you guys predict will happen????