It is a period of galactic uncertainty. The Jedi master George Lucas has retired.
Meanwhile, the Mouse Empire, led by Darth Iger, has been on a $15 billion rampage, swallowing up the Marvel universe, the planet Pixar, and finally the Star Wars universe itself.
Can a lone band of rebels be found to strike back at the heart of the Empire and ...
Ah, to heck with the Star Wars analogies. After all the verbal beatings, beratings and Jar Jar Binks jokes George Lucas has borne over the past dozen years, it’s weird to hear legions of fanboys decry Disney’s $4 billion takeover of Lucasfilm as if they were Obi-wan sensing the destruction of Alderaan (okay, just one more), or Anakin yelling “Noooo!!!” over the death of Padme (geez, I just can’t stop myself).
Disney taking over the Star Wars universe is hardly the end of Camelot. His second trilogy was a badly-written mess (“Hold me like you did by the lake at Naboo”) and the Clone Wars TV series was just okay.
Nevertheless, the volume of speculation, rumour and wishful thinking that’s swept the Internet in the past week shows the Jedis still have juice.
What we know for sure: a new Stars Wars film is on its way in 2015 with Kathleen Kennedy – Steven Spielberg’s producing partner of choice – heading the project. But here are some of the more intriguing rumblings heard from a galaxy far, far away:
RUMOUR: Star Wars: Episode VII has already been written.
SOURCE: Disney itself - since chief Robert Iger announced there was an “extensive treatment” to a new trilogy.
IS THE FORCE STRONG WITH THIS ONE?: Yoda-strong, it turns out. Late this week news broke that Michael Arndt - whose credits include Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine (for which he won an Oscar) and the forthcoming Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire - has mapped out the new trilogy. Moreover, Arndt will likely pen the screenplay for the first film. This debunks rumours that Damon Lindelof, who co-created Lost (and co-wrote Star Trek) might script the sequel. But fanboys who howled in outrage at Lindelof’s involvement (so much so Lindelof said he’ll print the fan comments “if I ever need a suicide note”) will be relieved.
RUMOUR: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are all amenable to reprising the roles of Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.
SOURCE: We know because Entertainment Weekly quoted “highly-placed sources.” Do they have an “old Jedis” home on Tatooine?
IS THE FORCE STRONG WITH THIS ONE?: There’s little doubt Hamill and Fisher will be back. (Could they be CGed back to their younger selves a la Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy?) Ford, who always found his pirate character one-dimensional, could be the hold-out. Then again, he could be swayed, especially if Lucas agrees to kill Solo off (something he refused to do in 1983).
RUMOUR: TV series ideas are bouncing around, including one that would key on bounty hunter Boba Fett.
SOURCE: Partly Lucas himself, since he’s been developing a live-action series set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
IS THE FORCE STRONG WITH THIS ONE? Given that Disney intends to expand the Marvel universe to the small screen with a S.H.I.E.L.D. series, can Boba: The Early Years be far behind?
RUMOUR: Matthew Vaughn. The X-Men: First Class director will helm Episode VII.
SOURCE: Various online reports. But Vaughn — who visited the set of Empire Strikes Back when he was eight years old — is a fan.
IS THE FORCE STRONG WITH THIS ONE? Then again, what 40-something male isn’t a fan? And there’s a grassroots movement to draft The Incredibles director Brad Bird – including a Facebook video that notes he’s “never done anything wrong in the history of ever,” and “I don’t want to live in a world where Star Trek is clearly better than Star Wars.”
RUMOUR: Disney is reportedly in talks to acquire Hasbro (of Transformers fame).
SOURCE: We’re pointing a finger at Cybertron.
IS THE FORCE STRONG WITH THIS ONE? Given Disney’s appetite for other companies with brands to exploit, it would hardly come as a shock. If C-3PO and R2D2 could turn themselves into cars, I picture a Prius and a Smart Car.
The future is as open as space itself. As Lucas said of the deal, “We could go on making Star Wars for the next 100 years.” At which time, The Phantom Menace will be rebooted by Lucas’s preserved head.