Will Luke, Leia and Han return? (Photo: 20th Century Fox)
Wow ... this whole new "Star Wars" thing is really happening, isn't it?
Disney has wasted no time in arranging for the triumphant return of "Star Wars" to cinemas upon officially obtaining the rights to what's arguably the most popular franchise of all time a few weeks ago. The price? A little over four billion bucks. The fact that they now control pretty much everything "Star Wars"-related? Priceless (and then some).
It was recently announced that Michael Arndt will be writing the screenplay to "Star Wars: Episode VII," which Disney hopes to get in theaters by 2015. The Oscar-winning screenwriter (for "Little Miss Sunshine") has close ties with the studio after penning the highly acclaimed "Toy Story 3," and story rumors have been flying since his enlistment in the Rebellion. Will "Episode VII" feature the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and even Harrison Ford? And, more importantly ... is that necessarily a good thing?
Disney isn't treating "Episode VII" as a one-off, though. We're definitely going to be getting a new trilogy, and the studio has already recruited two other screenwriters to conjure new adventures that take place in a galaxy far, far away.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg have signed on to write "Star Wars: Episode VIII" and "Episode IX." The exact details of their deals have yet to be determined (such as who will write which one), though they'll also be joining Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy as producers on the films.
Lawrence Kasdan is no stranger to the world of "Star Wars," having written the screenplay to both "The Empire Strikes Back" (the Episode that many consider to be the best in the series) and "Return of the Jedi." Kasdan is even more the Lucasfilm insider as he also wrote what is arguably one of the best screenplays of all time, "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Simon Kinberg is the new kid on the block, having been just three years old when the first "Star Wars" hit theaters in 1977. His screenwriting credits include "Sherlock Holmes," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "This Means War" and "X-Men: The Last Stand," and there's good buzz for his script for the "X-Men: First Class" sequel, "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
So, what exactly is this new trilogy going to be about? Again, we've got nothing but rumors for now, but a good guess is that it will be continuing the story of the Skywalkers, with Luke perhaps married to a certain redheaded hottie (fans of the "Star Wars" books, comic books and video games know who we're referring to) and Han and Leia now the proud parents of at least three kids destined to be Jedi Knights (and one even a new Sith Lord). There's a ton of material that the writers could draw from the many books, games and animated series ... or they could just throw it all down the garbage compactor and start over.