Rumor-mongering about Star Wars: Episode VII and the developing spinoff films is only going to intensify over the next few months, as J.J. Abrams prepares to begin shooting the seventh live-action installment in the space opera franchise. Similarly, if Disney/Lucasfilm intend to stick to their plan of releasing a Star Wars movie every year (beginning with Episode VII), that means the first spinoff will need to start production before 2014 draws to a close (or not too long thereafter).
Reports thus far point to the first spinoffs centering around a young Han Solo and Boba Fett, with the former exploring Solo’s origins onscreen, while the latter is rumored to introduce an all-new character, who gets ahold of the iconic Star Wars bounty hunter’s Mandalorian armor. New comments made by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy seem to support some of these rumors, while also casting doubts about the authenticity of the other unconfirmed reports.
Kennedy and Star Wars creator George Lucas recently made the journey to Singapore, where they commemorated the opening of the Sandcrawler Building, an eight-story tall visual artist workplace modeled after the Jawas’ famous mode of transportation (see the video above). During a related interview with The Straits Times (hat tip Toys Revil and /Film), Kennedy revealed that although the spinoffs will take place within the Star Wars universe, they won’t be closely tied to the central saga episodes.
Here is the quote attributed to Kennedy:
“George [Lucas] was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, episode seven falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created.
“There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the standalone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it’s a roadmap that George made pretty clear.”
We’ve heard talk about the new Star Wars cinematic universe being modeled after Marvel Studios’ film-verse, but Kennedy’s comments indicate that may not be so true. While The Avengers installments bring together the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s big players, even as supporting characters move in and out of different films – and now TV series (see: Sif guest-starring on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) – to create a greater sense of unification, it sounds as though the Star Wars spinoffs and Episodes might feature completely different casts altogether.
Not to say that’s a bad idea – as Kennedy points out, the Star Wars universe is quite big, and that’s something that various authors have taken advantage of with their ‘Expanded Universe’ Star Wars novels. From a storytelling perspective, there’s no real need for every Star Wars movie to include many (or any) of the same characters. Indeed, such an approach would arguably be a course-correction after the prequels, which tended to go out of their way to tie together popular characters and key events, to say the least (see: Anakin creating C-3PO, Yoda encountering Chewbacca, etc.).
As for the rumored Han Solo and Boba Fett spinoffs: the former remains a possibility, since it could be that Episode VII will serve as a send-off to the older version of the Solo character (played by Harrison Ford), and therefore an origin film might feel quite separate from the events in Episodes VII-IX.
Meanwhile, those rumors about the us getting a brand new Boba Fett imagined by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and is helping Abrams rewrite Episode VII) don’t really seem to gel with Kennedy’s comments about the next wave of Star War movies following a roadmap that Lucas planned out – but we’ll have to wait and see, of course.
Keep your eyes peeled, as more Star Wars news and/or rumors are bound to show up online soon. In the meantime, let us know your own thoughts and theories about how the upcoming Saga Episodes and spinoffs will (or should) tie together, in the comments section of this article.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.
Artwork by “Drawing Man“