If there was ever a chance that people could break the Internet, it probably would have happened in October 2012. It was during that month that Disney announced that it had purchased Lucasfilm Ltd., and that it was already planning Star Wars Episodes 7,8, and 9, plus several other spin-off films. It was like Christmas had come early.
There are, of course, doubters. There always will be. And after the job George Lucas did on his own creations with the prequel trilogy, and a certain CGI Gungan who must not be named lest he rises and appears in the new planned trilogy, there is every reason to be concerned. And yet, there is more Star Wars on the way… To a lifelong fan, those words just roll around in your mouth like honey.
So with that in mind, we run down all the rumors and confirmed news that is out there regarding the upcoming films, as well as the games. Along with the film properties, Disney’s acquisition gave them the rights to make Star Wars video games, which it then licensed to Electronic Arts.
This post will be updated regularly, so if you hear of something we haven’t, or you know for sure one of the rumors we posted has been busted or confirmed, let us know in the comments and we will update the article.
Episode VII (December 18, 2015)
When the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm was announced, it came with news of the new films, beginning with Episode VII. Although a name/sub-title was not announced, the Episode VII title tells us plenty – specifically that it will be a continuation of the original trilogy rather than another prequel, or a new story set in the same universe.
It wasn’t long before J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8) was attached to direct. He will also produce, along with Kathleen Kennedy (E.T., Jurassic Park trilogy) and Abrams longtime collaborator Bryan Burk. George Lucas will remain attached as a creative consultant, and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) was brought on to write. The film was also tentatively scheduled for 2015.
Since the first wave of confirmations though, things have remained up in the air. Shakeups have occurred, and casting has yet to be confirmed.
- The original Star Wars story was envisioned as a nine part film epic split into three trilogies. If the original plan remains, the new trilogy will focus on the next generation of Skywalker children.
- With the Empire fallen, the background would be on rebuilding the Republic.
- The story may be set 30-40 years after Return of the Jedi, partly to match the age of the original actors.
- Lucas has suggested that part of the deal for Lucasfilms included his notes on the remaining trilogy.
- Although it is widely known that the original plan was for nine Star Wars films, Lucas’ biographer Dale Pollock claims there are actually 12.
- C-3P0 and R2-D2 are rumored to be in the next three films.
- Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford have all been approached to be in the next trilogy.
- Hamill and Fisher have been spotted working out, and the studio has assigned them each a nutritionist to help get in shape. Neither the studio nor the actors’ camps have confirmed any signings though.
- Hamill met with Lucas to discuss the new trilogy, and has said he sees Luke taking on an Obi-Wan Kenobi-like mentor role.
- John Williams will be back to score the next trilogy.
- Seven foot tall actors are being sought for a major role in the new film, which likely signifies a return of Chewbacca.
- Actor Saoirse Ronan confirmed that she did audition for a role, but said that “so has everyone.”
- Ian McDiarmid may reprise his role as Emperor Palpatine, but in a ghost form, similar to that of Obi-Wan throughout the original trilogy.
- Michael Arndt has left the film, and is no longer attached. J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan will take over.
- In July of 2013, J.J. Abrams was said to be unhappy about the production, including the release date and schedules, which he felt were being rushed. One of his biggest concerns though was the script. Unhappy with Arndt’s direction, he wanted to write the screenplay himself, and the studio was the one pushing for Arndt.
- Anonymous sources working on the film claim that Arndt’s script was very good, but Abrams’ story is completely different, and will even feature different characters.
- Location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are all well underway.
- There are said to be several actors up being auditioned to play both Luke and Han’s sons. So while all the casting rumors you’ve heard may be true, how serious either the studio or the actors are is the real question.
- Leonardo DiCaprio was said to be a frontrunner, but has passed due to a desire to make a film based on Robotech.
- Episode VII may feature a female Sith antagonist.
- Ford was reportedly holding out and using his involvement as leverage to obtain a commitment for a fifth Indiana Jones film. [10/29/13]
- Part of Ford’s hesitance was also said to come from his wanting to wait and see how Solo’s story unfolded over the three new films, refuting earlier rumors that he would be in just Episode VII. [10/29/13]
- Disney and Ford have reportedly agreed, at least in principle, to a multi-picture deal with the caveat that there be a working outline for Indy V by the end of 2014. [10/29/13]
- EP Kennedy and others have reportedly asked Disney to push the release date back to 2016. [11/1/13]
- The rumored title is Star Wars: Episode VII: A New Dawn. [11/2/13]
- Disney has agreed to a short delay, and in doing so has confirmed the release date of December 18, 2015. [11/7/13]
- The reason Arndt’s script didn’t work for Abram is reportedly that it focused on the next generation of characters, the children of Luke, and Han and Leia. Abrams, however, wanted the film to focus on the original cast for at least one more film. [1/12/14]
- Jesse Plemons has auditioned in front of J.J. Abrams and remains a frontrunner for an undisclosed role (although it is widely rumored to be that of Luke Skywalker’s son. [1/12/14]
- The film may also feature a daughter, granddaughter, or possibly just a relative of Obi-Won Kenobi. [1/12/14]
- The first draft of the new script is complete. [1/20/14]
- The casting news continues, and at this point, it isn’t so much rumors as most of Hollywood’s up and comers (and elite) have auditioned or at least talked to the filmmakers. That list includes: Zac Efron, Micheal Fassbender, Hugo Weaving, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Driver, and even Dame Judi Dench to name a few of many. [2/9/14]
- The filmmakers have reached out to Gary Oldman regarding an undisclosed role. [2/9/14]
Disney is eager to continue the Star Wars franchise, so the sequels will likely follow within 2-3 years of each other. Even if Episode VII is a financial failure (which is very unlikely), the sequels are as sure a thing as anything in Hollywood can be.
- Depending on the success of Episode VII (specifically how the story is received), they may film Episodes VIII & IX back-to-back.
- The main cast, both returning and new, are likely to sign a multi-picture deal.
- Arndt’s script would have focused the trilogy on the children of Luke, and Han and Leia (and others of the same generation). Abrams, however, wants to focus the first film on the original cast. After that, it may then switch to the next-generation, or it may be more on an even split. [2/9/14]
The main focus is currently on the new trilogy, but Disney is also looking at ways to expand the Star Wars universe through one-off side films. It appears the current method is to stick with existing characters and offer prequel, standalone stories. In standard Disney practice, the company has confirmed very little.
- Almost immediately after the Disney purchase was announced, the rumors began to spread of a Han Solo prequel set before the events of A New Hope, and a Boba Fett film set between Episodes IV and V.
- A standalone film directed by Zack Sndyer inspired by Seven Samurai was floated, and promptly shot down by Snyder himself.
- A standalone Yoda film has also been rumored.
- Disney’s CFO Jay Rasulo claimed that they are planning “origin” stories for some of the main characters, but did not go into specifics.
- Disney may be looking to put out a Star Wars film each year, including standalones and the new trilogy.
- Lawrence Kasdan is reportedly writing the script for the Boba Fett film. Once he completes work on the Episode VII screenplay, he will focus on that project. [1/7/14]
- There has been talk that Pixar may work on a Star Wars movie. It’s technically possible, but this seems more like fan speculation than anything. [1/25/14]
When the Disney deal went down it ended several LucasArts game projects, including the much hyped Star Wars 1313, and any chance of a continuation of The Force Unleashed series. There are big plans in the works though.
- EA has confirmed that DICE, BioWare, and Visceral Games will be handling the bulk of the Star Wars AAA games, at least for now.
- They will all run on the Frostbite 3 engine.
- Expect plenty of mobile and casual Star Wars games very soon.
- Star Wars: Battlefront has been confirmed, but no release date has been given other than a Q2/Q3 2015 window. DICE will develop.
- EA will not develop any game tie-ins to the upcoming films. [11/20/13]
- The next Star Wars game after Battlefront will be an open world game. [11/27/13]
- Star Wars 1313 would have starred Boba Fett, but it has been cancelled. [1/20/14]