Seven Rumors About Star Wars and the New Trilogy: What's True and What's Bantha Fodder
Star Wars geeks around the world are counting the days until Episode VII debuts in theaters in May 2015, kicking off the long-awaited sequel trilogy. In the meantime, the Boba Fett-obsessed crowd has nothing to do but engage in one of its favorite pastimes: searching for spoilers and speculating on what the blasted thing's gonna be about, who's starring in it, and which characters from the original epic space saga will return.
As always, the Interwebz are chock full of conjecture, hypothesis, and scuttlebutt about Episode VII and the other new films that will complete the Star Wars series (like the much-anticipated Han Solo/Boba Fett spin-off that Disney is supposedly plotting). So we've run down most of the major rumors about the films and attempted to either confirm or deny what you'll be seeing at cineplexes two years hence.
Rumor: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles from the original trilogy.
Truth: Mostly correct. Though the blogosphere is rampant with speculation over which actors from the original trilogy are returning to play most famous characters of their careers, nothing official has been announced as of this writing. Fisher, however, has gone on record stating she will be returning, while Hamill and Ford have hemmed and hawed about the possibility of starring as intergalactic senior citizen versions of Luke and Han.
Meanwhile, Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) have all voiced their willingness to also return to a galaxy far, far away, although isn't shocking, considering all three don't really have much else going for them.
A Grand Admiral Thrawn imitator (no, not Flim).
Flickr via mbritton72
Rumor: The new films will be based on Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire trilogy.
Truth: Sad to say this ain't going to happen. As much as we'd love to see Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, or any of the other unforgettable characters from Zahn's epic trio of novels (which essentially kickstarted the Expanded Universe two decades ago), this rumor has been debunked. According to Disney, Episodes VII-XI will be based on an "original story" set more than 50 years past the conclusion of Return of the Jedi and will be penned by Toy Story 3's Michael Arndt, Lawrence Kasdan (writer of both the Empire Strikes Back and Jedi), and Simon Kinberg.
That said, we wouldn't be surprised if some ships, planets, or characters are cribbed from Zahn's magnum opuses, a la Coruscant in the prequels.
Rumor: Zack Snyder will direct a film from the new trilogy.
Truth: Um . . . sorta. Think Attack of the Clones was confusing? It's got nothing on the bewildering "will he/won't he" dance surrounding the 300 director and his involvement with the Disney-acquired Star Wars franchise the past few months. Vulture reported in January that Snyder would likely have no part of the new episodes, but he is rumored to be working on one of the spin-off/stand-alone Star Wars films that Disney has declared will be an eventuality. Then, via The Hollywood Reporter, he debunked such an idea, only to have Vulture say it "stands by its story." You be the judge.
Officially, J.J. Abrams has been signed to direct Episode VII after he finished his Star Trek reboot sequel and has the contractual option to do the other two.
Rumor: Both Yoda and Jar-Jar Binks will make an appearance in the new trilogy.
Truth: Nope. According to our friends at Nerdvana, there won't be any flashbacks featuring the wizened, green-skinned Jedi Master, nor will his force ghost saunter into a scene to offer characters sage-like advice. And, thank the maker, it's almost certain we won't have to endure so much as a cameo by Mr. Binks, despite Ahmed Johnson's essentially begging for a chance to once again portray the reviled alien doofus. That is, unless J.J. Abrams somehow loses his mind during post-production for Star Trek Into Darkness.
Rumor: Episode VII will be released in May 2015.
Truth: Yes . . . for the moment. Though Disney previously has stated unequivocally that the first of the new trilogy will be the staple of summertime cinema two years from now, such statements should contain an asterisk because Abrams has made noises about bumping the flick into 2016, because, let's face it, he's a busy dude. Besides his duties on Star Trek Into Darkness and producing the next Mission Impossible caper, he's constantly helming new TV projects. Honestly, we're hoping things get delayed, so that Episode VII steers clear of The Avengers sequel in 2015. Heck, he could even push it to 2017 so that it opens exactly 40 years after A New Hope premiered in 1977.
Rumor: [Insert Celebrity Name Here] is going to have a cameo in Episode VII
Truth: Yeah, we've heard that, too. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is game for a role, as is Mila Kunis, Diane Kruger, Bruce Willis, and a slew of others in Hollywood. As with any of these sort of rumors (remember when N*SYNC and Agent Scully were supposedly going to be in Attack of the Clones?), we'll have to wait and see.
Rumor: J.J. Abrams/Disney is going to ruin Star Wars Truth: Maybe, but at least it will be better than the effin' prequels. All jokes aside, Abrams has a yen for logical plots, intense action, clever casting choices, and getting good performances out of his actors. Too bad we can't say the same for George Lucas.
Yes, we realize that the Star Trek reboot from 2009 was well-made and adrenaline-laden yet lacked the core of Gene Roddenberry's utopian vision of the future. But the dude's admittedly a bigger Star Wars nerd than Trekkie, so here's hoping that he remembers that the saga should be about mythic archetypes and the hero's journey, and not just rip-roaring space battles and lightsaber fights.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Phoenix art and theater scene.