Just 24 hours ago the pop culture world was rocked by the news that Disney bought Lucasfilm and intended to release Star Wars Episode VII in 2015. The company says they have a treatment for a whole new Sequel Trilogy, and of course the web exploded in speculation, fancasting and wishful thinking.
But what will be happening in Star Wars Episode VII? Mark Hamill is on Twitter, where he has declined to say anything - because it seems that he doesn't know anything. And why would he? It does seem pretty likely - hugely probable? - that an older Luke Skywalker will have some role in the new trilogy.
We do know one thing: the new trilogy will not be based on existed Expanded Universe canon. We know this partially because of common sense: the EU stuff is almost uniformly terrible, appeals only to the most niche fans of a property that has worked itself into a real deep niche, and is also all bad. On top of that it's no good. But beyond that, we know this because a source at Lucasfilm tells E! Online that the new film will be an original story.
An original story doesn't mean a brand new story, though. George Lucas' estranged biographer has apparently violated a non-disclosure agreement to tell The Wrap about what plans the director had for future films. Way back when the original trilogy was still being made, Lucas shared his notes and journals with Dale Pollock, who would go on to write Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. Those notes included plans for a twelve film saga, and Pollock now says episodes 7, 8 and 9 were the best of the bunch.
Says Pollock: “The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.’”
But here's the thing: these three movies feature Luke in his 30s, which makes it unlikely they'll be truly used for the new Episode VII. The 10th, 11th and 12th films were supposedly about a much older Luke, which makes more sense as a basis for the next film.
I think there has been work on a new Star Wars film happening while the deal was being closed. A deal like this likely took some serious time to work out, but a new Star Wars film was always part of the plan. The Lucas outlines will be consulted, if only so that Disney can market the new films as 'being from George Lucas' original vision' or something. And since these journals come from a time before Lucas went totally soft in the head, maybe the ideas are even good.
The real fear is that the 2015 date is a rush. Lucasfilm needs pre-production happening Monday to really meet that date. I expect we'll be getting a deluge of Star Wars Episode VII news in the coming months. Mark Hamill's return feels like a no-brainer. Carrie Fischer is probably likely. Harrison Ford? That question has to be answered ASAP as the production moves forward. In the meantime, someone call Peter Mayhew: there's no way Chewbacca is dead in this new trilogy.
Anthony Daniels, as ever, waits by the phone.