It wasn’t long after Disney announced its acquisition of Lucasfilm, and intention to produce more Star Wars movies beginning with Episode VII, that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (that’s actor Mark Hamill, for all the non-SW fanatics reading this) was pressed for information, with regard to insider knowledge he possesses. At the time, the geek-favorite turned revered voice actor revealed that George Lucas had indeed told him ahead of time about plans for a new trilogy - though, apparently he left out that little detail about selling his mon$ter company to the Mouse House.
Since then, new rumors have been popping up around the clock, concerning which veterans of the series are coming back for Episode VII and beyond. ET Online was interviewing Hamill about his direct-to-DVD release, Sushi Girl, when he provided the following about him, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford playing older versions of Luke, Leia and Han Solo:
“They’re talking to us. George [Lucas] wanted to know whether we’d be interested. He did say that if we didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out. … I can tell you right away that we haven’t signed any contracts. We’re in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed — on their end, not mine. They’re more busy than I am.”
We recently broke down the scenario of Hamill, Fisher and Ford returning for an Episode VII that draws inspiration from the Star Wars Expanded Universe - in particular, the “Legacy of the Force” storyline that picks up 40 years following the events of A New Hope, allowing the new trilogy to pick in real-world time from a story perspective. Hamill expects the film to take a similar approach (ie. focus on the older characters’ offspring, like Han and Leia’s daughter Jaina) with Luke being a mentor to them like Obi-Wan Kenobi was to him. He playfully added:
“… When I found out [while making the original trilogy] that ultimate good news/bad news joke – the good news is there’s a real attractive, hot girl in the universe; the bad news is she’s your sister – I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to wind up like Sir Alec [Guinness]. I’m going to be a lonely old hermit living out in some kind of desert igloo with a couple of robots.’”
J.J. Abrams is directing Episode VII and expectations are he’ll construct the Star Wars universe using the same techniques from his Star Trek reboot and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness – namely, combining practical sets and props with CGI effects on the grand-scale shots and effects-heavy sequences, as opposed to the heavier reliance on digital imagery and tools in the prequel trilogy.
Hamill, for his money, is championing as much old-school technique as feasible:
“I hope they find the right balance of CGI with practical effects. I love props, I love models, miniatures, matte paintings — I’m sort of old school. I think if you go too far in the direction of CGI it winds up looking like just a giant a video game, and that’s unfortunate. … If they listen to me at all, it’ll be, ‘Lighten up and go retro with the way it looks.’”
Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively scheduled to open in theaters by 2015.