When it was revealed that screenwriters J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan were trying to work the Star Wars Expanded Universe into Episode VII, the possibilities were endless. According to StarWars7News.com, Abrams and Kasdan are using some of the EU characters as inspiration for the characters in Episode VII. However, they will likely be modified to fit within what they’re trying to do with the new trilogy. SW7N writes:
Right now they’re looking at using the basic descriptions of EU characters with different names. Luke’s wife will follow the same template as Shira Brie/Mara Jade. Red hair, Green eyes, attitude etc.
The same with the kids of the big three. […] Jaina will be the inspiration for the Solo daughter, Jacen for the Solo son and Ben for the Skywalker son. Most of the new characters in the new continuity are based on characters from the old continuity. Fans should not expect to see Kyle Katarn, Corran Horn or Cilghal, but characters who are very much like them.
So Episode VII won’t feature Mara Jade, per say, but rather a new character inspired by the Sith Apprentice-turned-Jedi Master. But if this rumor is correct, any EU material taking place after Return of the Jedi may potentially be nixed entirely, or just used as a launching pad for new stories. As SW7N’s source puts it, “This can not be made clearer, the post ROTJ EU launched in 91 is dead. No story from Outbound flight forward counts.”
The big question is, why would Abrams and Kasdan use the EU characters as a template and not just create new characters? With all rumors, please take this with a giant grain of salt until Disney and Lucasfilm make it official with a list of Episode VII‘s characters and a plot synopsis.
There’s one other tidbit from the report that should perk up fans’ ears. SW7N claims that Abrams met with Thrawn Trilogy writer Timothy Zahn, but that it “was probably just for consultation.”
SW7N also claims that screenwriter Michael Arndt is penning the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VIII. A few months ago, the Episode VII screenwriting duties were passed off to J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. Arndt has yet to announce a new project since his exit from Episode VII, so there could be some truth to this rumor. But if Abrams wasn’t happy with Michael Arndt’s work on Episode VII, then why bring him on for Episode VIII?
At the moment, no actors have been officially cast in the new film, though rampant rumors persist that Jesse Plemons will be cast as Luke’s son, Ben Skywalker. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher are all expected to report to reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia as well. Production on Episode VII is scheduled to begin in a few months, starting this spring at Pinewood Studios in London, England.
Star Wars: Episode VII will hit theaters everywhere on December 18, 2015, in 3D.