The first Star Wars movie since Revenge of the Sith is, of course, Star Wars: Episode VII, which will be directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Michael Arndt. That one kicks off an all-new trilogy taking place after Return of the Jedi and is tentatively planned for a summer 2015 release.
But since Disney bought Lucasfilm, there's been consistent word that Disney isn't looking to merely relaunch a new trilogy, but to take a cue from Marvel Studios, which Mickey's Empire also owns. The studio, we've been hearing for months, means to more fully explore a galaxy far, far away with standalone Star Wars features unconnected to the overall narrative of episodes VII through IX.
Just yesterday, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed to CNBC that Star Wars spin-offs are indeed in development, saying,
"There has been speculation about some stand-alone films that are in development. I can confirm to you today that, in fact, we are working on a few stand-alone films. Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are both working on films derived from great 'Star Wars' characters that are not part of the overall saga. We still plan to make Episodes 7, 8, and 9, roughly over a six-year period of time, starting in 2015. There are going to be a few other films released in that time, too."
That official confirmation from the head honcho over at Disney came after this week's earlier rumor that the first standalone Star Wars adventure would follow the wizened Jedi Master Yoda.
While there's no update as the veracity of that particular rumor, there's a whole new rumor that arguably the two most popular characters from the original trilogy, the dashing rogue Han Solo and the monosyllabic merc Boba Fett are also getting solo movies of their own. According to Entertainment Weekly, screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are working on these two standalone features. When Kasdan, best known as the writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Sherlock Holmes scripter Kinberg were hired last year, the immediate assumption was that they were working on Episode VIII and Episode IX. We learned later, though, that they might be tasked with writing spin-offs, and it looks like that's true. Kasdan is also consulting with Arndt on the writing of Episode VII.
The solo Solo movie would reportedly be an origin story for the smuggler, taking place at some point between Revenge of the Sith and the first Star Wars. The Boba Fett film, meanwhile, would be set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Obviously, this would mean that a younger actor would have the difficult task of living up to Harrison Ford's inimitable performance as the rogue-turned-rebel. Fett was originally played by Jeremy Bullock, but the origin story introduced in Attack of the Clones would suggest that Temuera Morrison would provide the voice, at least, for Fett.
Neither Disney nor Lucasfilm have commented as of yet, but developing movies based around these beloved characters makes perfect sense. Clearly, though, Disney and new Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy are eager to make hay out of recognizable Star Wars characters while rejuvenating the brand with the new trilogy.