When George Lucas announced that he was selling his company to Disney, it was (to paraphrase ol' Obi-Wan) as if millions of nerds suddenly cried out in terror. But now that the dust is off and we've all had time to absorb the bombshell news, disciples of the Force are probably wondering what's next. Yes, there will be movies. But what will they be about?
We did a roundup of some of the more interesting reporting and rumors floating around. As we all now know, there will be at least three new films: episodes VII, VIII, and IX. But what those films will cover is open to a lot of speculation.
We can safely assume that the films will be original stories and not adaptations of "Star Wars" novels, comics, or games. This is kind of a bummer. The Admiral Thrawn book trilogy by Timothy Zahn is highly regarded and would make a compelling series of films. However, according to E! Online, the new films will be based on original treatments written by George Lucas.
The Wrap spoke with Dale Pollock, author of the Lucas biography, "Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas." The author, who interviewed the director at least 80 times for his book, says that while he was doing research in the 1990s, he was allowed to read the outlines to the 12 (yes, 12!) stories.
"It was originally a 12-part saga," Pollock said. "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 three movies.'" He did say that the three films feature Luke Skywalker in his 30s and 40s. No other details were given due to a confidentiality agreement Pollock signed.
But that was a long, long time ago. Plot lines, stories and characters can come and go. Still, it would seem likely that the next trilogy would go back to the trio of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia. IGN has an interesting idea -- why not use "Avatar"-style versions of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher in these new films? Yes, many would object, but let's be honest — that trio is the heart of the saga and it's going to be difficult to accept other actors in the roles.
Of course, that's just one theory. There are others. The Hollywood Reporter writes that Disney may do an "'Avengers'-style universe with not only Lucas' planned final trio of films but offshoot movies focusing on individual characters." While there is no official confirmation, the idea makes sense. The "Star Wars" universe is ripe for interesting characters and Disney will want to get its $4 billion worth.
Entertainment Weekly sat down with Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy. Hamill revealed that he and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) had lunch with George Lucas in August. Lucas told them that he was planning to make another trilogy. "When he said, 'We decided we're going to do episodes VII, VIII, and IX,' I was just gobsmacked," Hamill said. Still, he had no idea the director was planning to sell his company. "Oh my gosh, what a shock that was," Hamill said.
The films, whatever they end up focusing on, will be executive produced not by Lucas but by his successor, Kathleen Kennedy. She will work with Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn to produce the films and build the brand. Horn is highly regarded. He previously worked at Warner Bros., where he helped to oversee the "Harry Potter" films. Clearly, the guy knows his way around valuable franchises.
When it comes to who will direct the films, that's anybody's guess. Danny Boyle would make a nice choice. He directed the under-seen sci-fi flick "Sunshine." Steven Soderbergh would surely make an interesting film set in a galaxy far, far away. If producers want to go with a blockbuster kind of guy, how about James Cameron or Steven Spielberg? Other possibilities that would likely be met with approval (again, we're just guessing): Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson. Notice we did not include Michael Bay?