After the initial bombshell that Disney had purchased LucasFilm, and subsequently the Star Wars license, movie fans began to speculate about what we might see in the newly announced return to that galaxy far, far away. Conflicting reports indicated that Disney would either use Star Wars episodes 7-9 to continue the established saga, fleshing out unused treatments (originally penned by George Lucas), and bring back fan-favorite characters like Luke and Leia – or relaunch the franchise with an entirely original storyline (likely set after the events of the original films but without many returning characters).

Considering that the proposed Episode 7 release date is still three years away, it may be awhile before we have any concrete answers but that hasn’t stopped commenters and industry insiders from weighing in on the direction they’d like to see the series take.

Screen Rant editor (and SR Underground Podcast host), Ben Kendrick, had a chance to sit down with fellow entertainment writer Eric Eisenberg (Cinemablend) in a video panel hosted by AMC Theaters’ John Campea to talk about our where we think the series will go – as well as whether or not we might see the return of some familiar franchise faces.

You can check out the video discussion at the top of the page.

At this point, moviegoers seem to be cautiously optimistic about the Disney/LucasFilm deal. However, when discussion shifts to where exactly the Mouse House should take the franchise, there isn’t a clear consensus. While plenty of fans would love to see fan-favorite characters return, it’s much more likely that Disney is going to draw a fine line in the sand – if for no other reason that to protect their investment. While characters like R2-D2 and C-3PO could provide a smart bridge between the original and upcoming installments, it’s hard to imagine that, given the backlash around the prequel trilogy, Disney will want to risk further tarnishing the brand by continuing the stories of principle characters.

As the news of an “original story” would indicate, Disney will instead enjoy profiting off of previously established characters like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker at retail – while at the same time forging ahead in a new direction with fresh characters. Remember, as Transformers 4 teaches us – new characters mean higher merchandise sales.

Join the discussion by letting us know what direction you’d like to see Disney take with episodes 7-9 (as well as whether you agree or disagree with the various points raised in the video blog). Plus, if you’re still reeling from the announcement, be sure to check out our fun lists of the Top 10 Pros and Cons of the Disney-LucasFilm Deal as well as 20 Disney ‘Star Wars’ Crossovers Coming Soon to Your Galaxy.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Star Wars Episode 7, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Star Wars Episode 7 is set for release in 2015.