October 30th, 2012 will be a day long remembered for Star Wars fans, with The Walt Disney Company purchasing Lucasfilm for $4 billion, and announcing plans to continue the epic space opera with Star Wars Episode VII – the first instalment of a new trilogy set to begin in 2015.
Naturally, there’s been an absolute tonne of speculation about the possibilities for the Disney Trilogy, but any fans hoping to see an adaptation of Timothy Zahn’s ‘Thrawn Trilogy’ – the post-Return of the Jedi novels Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command – will be disappointed by the news the new films will overlook any existing Expanded Universe material, with a Lucasfilm source confirming to E!Online that “[Episode VII] is an original story.” Furthermore, The Hollywood Reporter claims that “one possibility being considered is an Avengers-style movie universe with not only Lucas’ planned final trio of films, but offshoot movies focussing on individual characters.”
At the moment, the only thing that seems certain is that we’ll be seeing the long-rumoured further adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and company, although it remains to be seen whether the original cast members will return for this sequel trilogy. However, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mark Hamill has revealed that Lucas informed both he and Carrie Fisher of his plans to continue the Star Wars saga last year:
“I had no idea that George was going to sell to Disney until I read it online like everybody else. He did tell us last summer about wanting to go on and do [Episodes] VII, VIII, and IX, and that [newly appointed Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy would be doing them… Last August, he asked Carrie [Fisher] and I to have lunch with him and we did. I thought he was going to talk about either his retirement or the Star Wars TV series that I’ve heard about – which I don’t think we were going to be involved in anyway, because that takes place between the prequels and the ones we were in and, if Luke were in them, he’d be anywhere from a toddler to a teenager so they’d get an age-appropriate actor – or the 3-D releases. So when he said, ‘We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX,’ I was just gobsmacked. ‘What? Are you nuts?!’… He was just talking about writers and the fact that he wouldn’t be directing. I guess he wanted us to know before everybody else knew.”