Rumor Patrol: ‘Star Wars 7′ Characters Based on EU; Michael Arndt Writing Episode 8

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Star Wars 7 Characters Based on Expanded Universe Rumor Patrol: Star Wars 7 Characters Based on EU; Michael Arndt Writing Episode 8

Star Wars: Episode 7 is a lot like Batman vs. Superman. Because there isn’t much in the way of official information about the film, all manner of rumors and speculation have popped up and filled the void. Will Benedict Cumberbatch play a Sith? Will Judi Dench (Skyfall) play Mon Mothma? What about Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving – are they going to be in the film?

Everything’s pretty tenuous at the moment and will likely stay that way until we hear some official announcements from Disney and Lucasfilm. In the meantime, today we have more Star Wars rumors to dissect – one having to do with the Episode 7 characters being based on those from the Expanded Universe, and another to do with Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) writing Episode 8.

These rumors come courtesy of The first one pertains to EU characters like Mara Jade (Luke Skywalker’s wife), Jaina and Jacen Solo (Han and Leia’s offspring), and Ben Skywalker (Luke’s son) being used as inspiration for the characters in Episode 7. Check it out below:

Right now they’re looking at using the basic descriptions of EU characters with different names. Luke’s wife will follow the same template as Shira Brie/Mara Jade. Red hair, Green eyes, attitude etc.

The same with the kids of the big three. [...] Jaina will be the inspiration for the Solo daughter, Jacen for the Solo son and Ben for the Skywalker son.  Most of the new characters in the new continuity are based on characters from the old continuity. Fans should not expect to see Kyle Katarn, Corran Horn or Cilghal, but characters who are very much like them.

This can not be made clearer, the post [Return of the Jedi] EU launched in ’91 is dead. No story from Outbound flight forward counts. That’s why Bob Iger said they would use the 17,000 character for inspiration for new characters.  Shira Brie and Mara Jade are the templates for Luke’s wife/Love interest.

So, if true, what does this all mean? That there will be a bunch characters that look and act just like EU characters, but will, for some reason, not have their names? What’s the point of that, exactly?

Well, perhaps it’s as simple as J.J. and company just not liking those names, or maybe the involvement of some of these EU-inspired characters will be minimal. (Placing a major focus on, for example, a Kyle Katarn clone could be a bit redundant, considering he was already sort of a Han Solo clone and Episode 7 will feature the real deal front and center.)

Michael Arndt Writing Star Wars Episode 8 Rumor Patrol: Star Wars 7 Characters Based on EU; Michael Arndt Writing Episode 8

We know from Leland Chee – manager of the Lucasfilm Story Group – that going forward, some of the EU will be in canon and some (probably much) will not. So perhaps there’s some credibility to this story, or perhaps some Star Wars fan took advantage of that news and made up a rumor to go with it.

The second rumor, again, has to do with Michael Arndt. As you’ll recall, Arndt wrote the story treatment for Episode 7 and was initially expected to write the whole script. Instead, J.J. Abrams and The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan pulled scripting duties. According to StarWars7News, none of this means that Arndt was let go – rather, he’s moved on to writing Episode 8 instead.

Their argument for why there’s validity to this scoop is that Arndt, an Academy Award winner, has yet to move onto another project. That said, Arndt did write the script for Pixar’s upcoming movie, Inside Out (2015), so it’s very possible he’s still doing work on that project.

As always, the veracity of these rumors should be completely suspect until we hear something concrete from director J.J. Abrams, one of the producers, or even just a Lucasfilm PR person. Having said that, what’s your take, Screen Ranters? Do you want new characters to be based on those from the Expanded Universe? Would you like to see Michael Arndt write Episode 8? Drop us a line in the comments.


Star Wars: Episode 7 hits theaters December 18th, 2015.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.


Follow Ben Moore on Twitter @benandrewmoore
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  1. It’s such a shame Kyle Katarn is not going to be on this one. A cameo at least, would be amazing to all of the jedi knight series fans.

    • While I have nothing but love for Katarn and the Jedi Knight series, I think this article nailed it on the head with the mention of Katarn being a Han Solo clone. That said, I hope that we have a rather surly, wise-cracking Jedi Knight who is a clear nod to Katarn that fans of the games could pick up on.

    • We need less openers like Episode 3 and more openers like the Hoth Battle of Empire simply because the intro of Episode 3 was all flash and no substance. A CGI battle scene is not the same type of Tracking Shot as set up in Gravity. One required real actors, precise camera movements, the list goes on. The Episode 3 intro was a video game intro at best holding little to no regard for cluing in the viewer as to what the flip was going on. Generic at best. Gravity proves what real film making looks like. Lucas never leaves his chair.

      • Of course, but at least JJ actually doesn’t have that problem. JJ’s 09 Trek was used as counterpoint for the prequels in some of the funny video reviews of the Episodes 1-3 lol.


        • In a way, JJ gave Star Trek a lot of the feel of Star Wars. Star Trek was never really about huge space battles and fire fights yet they were a very large part of both movies. That was much more in line with Star Wars.

  2. Well, I look at it this way:

    It makes sense to me why they wouldn’t want to do very straightforward adaptations of EU material or characters, as far as not having to live or die by books that were created in a vacuum due to lack of other material for fans to enjoy. I’m willing to keep an open mind and enjoy whatever makes it into the upcoming films.

    However, if I end up not caring for what’s ultimately created (and in that case, more power to anyone who does), I can always do what I did in the wake of the prequel trilogy, that is, ignore the hell out of those movies and stick to reading the books and enjoying those as the “real” extensions of Episodes IV-VI for me.

  3. Will Mon “Mothra” be battling Godzilla with lightsabers?

    • LOL. Somebody got Godzilla on their mind?

    • No, but Heisenberg doesn’t actually need the force, either, and can pull it off solo.


  4. I am going to be really irritated if they totally throw out the EU continuity. I would much prefer they kept the major brush strokes and changed details for a movie. Like adapt New Jedi Order into a trilogy that doesn’t rigidly follow the books. Or use the book characters in stories between the books that doesn’t invalidate the book continutity

    • Only advice I can give is “prepare your butt for hurt.”

  5. What does EU stand for ?

    • Expanded Universe.

    • Expanded Universe

    • yes, +1 to this
      can anyone tell us?

    • It is all the books. Thrawn, new jedi order etc

      • Well, refers to everything outside of the official films/Clone Wars, basically. So books, comics, video games, etc.

        Specifically with regard to this article, the stories taking place after Return of the Jedi (although the book Outbound Flight is set in the prequel films era).

    • Expanded Universe. It refers to the multitudes 9f books that are set after Return of the Jedi.

    • Thanks!

  6. This idea (“use existing characters as templates for new characters”) makes a fair amount of sense. Keep the good basic ideas, but allow flexibility for new stories.

    Let one thing be very clear, though: the existing Expanded Universe that started with Heir to the Empire in 1991 is never going to be dead. I’m sure that I am not the only one who considers that body of story material, or the high points at least, to be second only to the original trilogy in canonical status. The new films have a very high standard to measure up to not only the fact that they are descendants of Empire Strikes Back, but that they are replacing the Thrawn Trilogy.

    • That is actually an interesting question. Not are the movies going to adapt the EU, but is the EU going to adapt the movies?

      Disney is going to make a juggernaut of this franchise. They are going to change the EU. Once it is changed, even a little, the ripples spread out further down the time line of the EU wiping out book after book. Whole story lines have to be scrapped as “canon.”

      So, if they want to continue making books, do they stay within the original EU canon? Or do they scrap it and start a new one that can tie into the movies? Or both?

  7. I can understand why they would have characters based on certain EU characters, but not actually using their names … I can see where they would want to separate their movie characters from pre-established lore. The movie characters could be based on the archtypes of the EU but not carry all the story baggage from the books/comics/whatever, allowing the movie writers to write their story fresh.

  8. I hope it will be darker, more bad@ass stories and characters- much like the image you chose for this article (kudos). Less bubbly bears; more Sith in swamps!

    • How about bubbly sith bears?

      • That would be a horrible film, but great merchandising for the kiddie-winks…

    • She’s gone and good riddance.

      Don’t worry, I am sure they know they need at least one hot female lead.

    • These are the types of movies you expect them to make now that LUCAS FILMS has been purchased by DISNEY?

      Good luck with that.

  9. I dont care much about these rumors.

    Just find a way to bring Padme alive! please JJ!
    dont care if the solution is time traveling.

    • Tough luck, nobody liked the character so there would be no way she’d come back.

  10. I’ve already discounted Thrawn from any of the upcoming films.
    I do have hopes that he may show up in the forthcoming Rebels series. A Thrawn/Soontir Fel team up would make for an intense adversary for the Alliance.

    • I hear ya. It’s really too bad, because those books are great. Those are the only ones worth keeping, they could even have made C’Baoth the Emperor instead so as not to confuse people. They should have just adapted them.


    • Why not?
      I don’t see Timothy Zahn’s story lines showing up, but the article says they will use characters from the EU.

      Thrawn would be a wise choice. He was one of the best villains I ever read in the EU.

  11. This is my nightmare…

  12. You know folks, be prepared for some element(s) of these new movies to remind you of Ewoks or Jar Jar. I would like to think these films would go very serious and adult but remember Lucas originally made these films to primarily appeal to kids and young people. It was intended as modern day serials; a throwback to the old time serials Lucas grew up on like Flash Gordon et al.

    With Disney and Lucasfilm running the show, expect something to appeal to kids. I would love to see an entire Star Wars film done in the manner of the inter level films in a game like The Force Unleashed…very serious and adult, but doubt that will ever be done.
    I’ve waited a long time for that to happen. I was 23 when the original Star Wars was released in 1977. I am now 60. Would still love to see it it happen.

    • Of course. I don’t really think it’ll go any other way, and that’s basically the same model as the Marvel movies.

  13. So, a character in the new films might be a mix of various EU characters, similar to how Alan Moore’s Watchmen were based on older comic book characters.

    I get it, I just feel for all the writers who’ve put this together over the years, and the faithful readers who’ve eaten up everything they’ve written.

  14. This is why I never read anything post Jedi. Especially the garbage with a clone Emperor & a clone Luke… how f***ing original!

  15. It’s really simple, makes sense, and I would do it that way to.

    If I want to use a character like Mara Jade, but don’t want to hear the EU fans moan every time I change one little thing about her EU “canon,” then I just change her name. Fans complain one time about “why not just call her Mara Jade” and it’s over, now I am free to do what I want with my story and my characters.

    I would also (and bet they will too) seek to differentiate my character in some large way from their EU counterparts in order to expedite audiences understanding that this is, in fact, NOT Mara Jade (or whomever.)

    • Nolan did the same thing with Robin, too, and for a few reasons. So there’s that…

  16. The point is that they can do their own story, while using the character traits that fans of the EU love. Would they use the EU names of those characters they would never hear the end of it: “But that’s not what happened in the books… they never did that… bah! bah! bah!”. Well, they will get to hear that anyway, but not as much… :D

  17. I’ve never followed the expanded universe so anything they put in front of me would be “new”.

  18. I remember someone (people actually) on here arguing with me about how the EU doesn’t count and the films are separate.

    …Told you so. 30 years of EU can’t be ignored. Sorry.

  19. It sounds like some rich ass company doesn’t want to pay the person who made up those names.

    • Except Lucasfilm owns all the right to everything Star Wars so they wouldn’t have to give so much as a dime to anyone.

  20. I’m not buying these new rumors at all. How lazy can you be, either use existing characters or create all new ones. The only thing that could possibly do is piss off fans

  21. If JJ and company used the EU characters as is and changed one small detail about the character, all the Star Wars nerds would throw a hissy fit. Using the EU characters as inspirations gives JJ and company freedom to create new characters without having to be tied down existing character traits and characteristics. Although, some fans will still probably be pissed either way.

  22. “Star Wars Episode 7 is a lot like Batman vs Superman”

    Except for few things.

    Star Wars Episode 7 will be good and Batman vs Superman will be awful. Guaranteed.

    Batman vs Superman, along with WB/DC, are the butt of jokes all over the Internet and even on late night talk shows, Star Wars is not.

    Disney has a plan for Star Wars, WB/DC has no plan for anything.

    Star Wars 7 will be amazing. Batman vs Superman, yeah, not so much.

    • Let the hate flow through you…

    • Uhm, okay.

  23. Fanboys need to stop crying about the EU. It’s dead. Let it go! And no, it’s not as popular as you think. TPM sold more movie tickets in one month than all three books of the Thrawn Trilogy sold in their first eight years!

    While they might upset some fans by ignoring the EU, fans like myself will be jumping for joy since we stopped reading EU stuff long ago because it had gotten so bad.

    • Yeah, I’m gonna call BS. You can tell me the EU isn’t that popular when every major bookstore no longer has its own Star Wars section.

      • Bladeseeker, let’s put this into perspective. Smurfs 2 sold 8.5 million tickets. Fifty Shades of Grey sold 16 million copies in it’s first year. All three Thrawn Trilogy novels combined sold 15 million copies over their first eight years in print. The only Star Wars book to crack the year’s top 20 best seller’s list was the novelization for TPM. The books are marginally popular…FOR BOOKS! The real money is in movie tickets and toys. The novels and comics are insignificant.

  24. I don’t see why they don’t handle it the same way they handle Marvel. Yeah, let the characters be inspired, but what’s wrong with using the name “Mara Jade?”

    There will already be a split continuity. Leaving the names in the EU out of the movies is like trying to preserve the EU, but they are ditching it anyway… So use the names!

  25. This makes sense.
    We all knew that the Expanded Universe will not be directly adapted, but could very well be influential and inspiration for certain storylines and characters.
    So having characters serve templates for others make a lot of sense.

    However, I would not mind if they used the same name of the characters and change details in order to make sense in the film’s timeline. As long as the essence of the characters remain the same. Some may not like it, but films and books are different.

    They could even adapt the Thrawn trilogy as long as the essence continues and make sense on screen.

  26. Disney and company do it because they don’t want to pay. If they want to go for new stories then forget everything about the EU and introduce stories of their own.

    Saying they will take traits from those characters but will not use them only angers fans. All studios do it thinking they have reinvented the wheel. That’s shambolic.

    • This is so true. You use the names and even characteristics from previous material. Disney would have to payout big. So it’s smart on their behalf to create their own characters for the new trilogy

      • Lucasfilm owns all the rights to everything Star Wars. They can use whatever they want for free.

  27. “Right now they’re looking at using the basic descriptions of EU characters with different names. Luke’s wife will follow the same template as Shira Brie/Mara Jade. Red hair, Green eyes, attitude etc.”
    Lame. Just create Mara Jade morons.