When it comes to J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, all we have is an endless list of questions. We know when it will take place, that Chewbacca and R2-D2 will appear, and that it is reportedly already filming, but beyond that, we know next to nothing. In addition to the six feature length movies, there is a glut of material that forms the Expanded Universe of Star Wars, and many fans have speculated about how stories and characters from that world could influence or appear in the new movies—both the trilogy films, as well as the standalone features that have been announced. Over the weekend at WonderCon, the subject came up, and writer and producer Simon Kinberg gave us a slightly clearer view of what to expect, without actually revealing any specific information.
Talking with IGN, Kinberg says, “I know, for the movies, the canon is the canon. And the canon is the six films that exist.” That seems like a pretty definitive statement, from someone actually involved in the process, that the films won’t stray too much from what appears in the Episodes.
This fits with what we know of the plot, which, admittedly is almost not much. But, most fans and experts expect Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford, the three stars of the original trilogy, to return for Episode VII, and that we will be introduced to subsequent generations of Skywalkers and Solos. We do know that the action is set more than 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and have heard rumors that some of the younger actors who have been linked to the movie could play descendents of the big three, or others, like Obi-Wan Kenobi.
For me – and I know that this was true for J.J. [Abrams] and Larry Kasdan, obviously, and Kathy Kennedy, and Michael Arndt, it was all about honoring the original movies and yet wanting to take a step forward, too, and tell a new story.
Building on what has come before, what fans know and love, is a sound strategy to both appease existing fans and entrance a new generation. George Lucas’ prequel trilogy tried this by including characters C-3PO, R2-D2, Yoda, and more, and while they did offer some connection, they didn’t occur naturally, and the move felt forced and didn’t work well. If, however, we see Luke, Leia, and Han, and perhaps their kids, which could provide a stronger bond.
Though it doesn’t sound like the Expanded Universe will figure too prominently, Kinberg says, it “is not off limits. It’s certainly inspiring, and I’m working on a new animated show for them as well, Star Wars: Rebels, that will take inspiration from everywhere.”
Perhaps some of the tales from wider Star Wars world will figure into the standalone films. That sounds like a more realistic possibility. The strategy, as it stands, is to have one of these films appear ever other year, alternating with the main trilogy. Though Kinberg wouldn’t say, Boba Fett and Han Solo keep popping up as potential subjects for these movies.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens everywhere December 18, 2015. Check out the full Kinberg interview for yourself.