Two Years to ‘Star Wars’: What We Know So Far

Bryan Enk
·Contributor

It's December 18, 2013, and you know what that means — only two more years until the theatrical release of "Star Wars: Episode VII."

Before you fall into despair at the thought of having to wait another 730 days before seeing the long-awaited next chapter in the tale of a galaxy far, far away, stop and think about how that's not so far, far away at all.

Really, what were you doing two years ago at this time? Let us conjure a few sensory — or, rather, cinematic — memories for you: Films like "War Horse," "The Adventures of Tintin," and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" were the holiday movies of choice, along with "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," and even "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

You're remembering now, yes? Not so long ago, no? Now just imagine waiting the same amount of time since then and "Star Wars" will be yours for the viewing.

But what are we really so excited for, anyway? It's the idea of the new "Star Wars" movie, not the actual reality of the new "Star Wars" movie. Because, in reality, there are really only two things we know about "Episode VII": jack and you-know-what.

Actually, that's not entirely true. Here's what we know about "Star Wars: Episode VII" so far, and just accept the fact that with the Dark Lord of Secrecy himself, J.J. Abrams, running the show, probably the only other thing we'll know a year from now is the title (and even that might be a long shot).

1. J.J. Abrams is directing it.

You know J.J., right? He's the guy who did the two "Star Trek" movies, and apparently Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the moguls at Disney see some potential there. Abrams is notorious for keeping plot and character elements under wraps, even when they don't really need to be (is there a reason we shouldn't have known about Khan ahead of time?), so expect this whole two-year journey to be filled with more rumors than facts.

J.J. is also notorious for his excessive use of lens flares, though he has since apologized for these visual indulgences in "Star Trek Into Darkness," claiming that "admitting you're an addict is the first step towards recovery." We'll see.

2. Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams are doing a rewrite on Michael Arndt's screenplay.

When it was first revealed back in Oct. 2012 that Disney bought Lucasfilm and was preparing a new series of "Star Wars" films, Michael Arndt was announced as the screenwriter of "Episode VII." This was good news indeed, as pretty much everyone likes Arndt's heartfelt (and often heartbreaking) script for "Toy Story 3" (2010), and his writing on "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) won him an Oscar.

His "Star Wars" script apparently needs a little extra special sauce, though, as Abrams and longtime "Star Wars" vet Lawrence Kasdan are doing a rewrite on it. We can take or leave J.J. as a writer, but Kasdan has us especially optimistic, as he penned what's arguably (but why argue?) the best-ever "Star Wars" film, "The Empire Strikes Back."

Granted, "Empire" came out over 33 years ago ... let's hope the Force is still strong with Larry.

3. John Williams is scoring it.

Well, who else would? "Star Trek Into Darkness" composer Michael Giacchino? Not even J.J. has that kind of clout.

Kathleen Kennedy announced Williams' musical return to "Star Wars" at this past summer's "Star Wars" Celebration Europe, making it seven for seven for the Oscar-winning composer. We hope he realizes he can't incorporate the opening 20th Century Fox fanfare any more.

4. R2-D2 is in it.

What's a "Star Wars" feature film without the droid whom his BFF affectionately refers to as an "overweight glob of grease"? What's even better is this particular R2 unit is made with that special kind of love that can only come from fans, as he was designed and built by these two guys. Talk about the best gig in the galaxy!

5. Darth Vader might be in it, or something.

We're not sure. Does this Dark Lord of the Sith selfie mean anything? It was posted to announce the induction of "Star Wars" into the wild and wonderful world of Instagram earlier this month.

But maybe it, you know, means something else, too.

6. Benedict Cumberbatch really wants to be in it.

Well, what do you know? We do, too! It seems like a no-brainer that J.J. would cast the guy who played (SPOILER! — oh, wait, we're past that, never mind) Khan in "Star Trek Into Darkness" in his other big sci-fi franchise, but we'll doubt we'll hear about it either way any time soon.

Regardless of what his chances may be, the man behind Smaug's dulcet tones is campaigning hard for a role, even going so far as leaving J.J. voicemail messages that are simply lightsaber noises. Awesome.

"Star Wars: Episode VII" will hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2015. Patience, padawans.