It’s been just over 24 hours since the shocking word yesterday that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm, and the Star Wars franchise, to Disney, and that more Star Wars films were on the way beginning in 2015. Now everyone is diving headfirst into the pool of speculation, a body of water we’ll all be doing laps around for the next few years. What will the new Star Wars movies be about? When will they take place? Will they star existing characters? Well, now a few more tidbits have leaked out, and, if true, they suggest Episode VII will be a sequel to the original trilogy, starring an older Luke Skywalker…but don’t expect a return visit from Mark Hamill.
The first bit of news comes from E!, who cite an unnamed source at Lucasfilm who explains that the new Star Wars trilogy will be brand-new stories, not based off any of the piles and piles of existing Expanded Universe material. So, no Thrawn Trilogy. No Dark Empire. Lucas handed over story treatments for Episodes VII – IX as part of the deal with Disney, but it’s still unclear if this “original story” will be literally brand new and made up by whomever they hire as screenwriter, or if they will follow, or borrow from, Lucas’ existing treatments for the three sequel films.
But wait, there’s more. The Wrap spoke to Dale Pollock, Lucas’ biographer who wrote Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. As part of his research for the book during the ‘80s, Pollock was allowed to read the story treatments for 12 different Star Wars movies, which I guess finally puts the lid on how many films Lucas really had planned over the years. While he was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement at the time, he does have praise for the VII – IX treatments. “It was originally a 12-part saga …The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9,” says Pollock. “They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.’”
Pollock also potentially answers one of the big questions people have been wondering about: Will the films use the characters or actors from the first trilogy? If the new films are based directly off the existing treatments, then the answer is yes and no, respectively. Pollock says that Luke is in his 30s and 40s during Episodes VII – IX…that would be quite a stretch for Hamill, now aged 61, to fit the bill. That means they’ll have to find a new actor for the role, as well as, presumably, for any other characters who might return, such as Han Solo or Leia. That ought to ignite a firestorm of fanboy rage not seen since J.J. Abrams gave us Christopher Pine as James T. Kirk (who, to be fair, I think did okay in the role).