'Star Wars' Rumors: Alfonso Cuarón Directing 'Episode 8'? Simon Pegg Joining Cast? [UPDATED]

Star Wars Episode VIII 8 Alfonso Cuaron Simon Pegg

[UPDATE: Simon Pegg Denies this rumor. Scroll down for Update.]

Another day brings yet another Star Wars update. While we've been having fun imagining Star Wars spin-off films we want to see - or debating whether the original cast returning is a good or bad thing - the rumor mill has been busy turning out speculation about plans for the main franchise beyond J.J. Abrams' Episode VII (currently in production) - namely, the already announced sequels, Star Wars Episode VIII & IX.

We know that Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan is working with X-Men writer Simon Kinsberg on the script for Episode VIII - but the question still remains: Who will direct the sequel? Much like the big debate that raged over who would helm Episode VII, we're already getting a flurry of rumors about who will step in to lead Episode VIII

Market Saw claims that director Alfonso Cuarón is the name we should all be keeping in mind when plans for Episode VIII - and IX - start to really get going. Citing a list of potential directors they dropped in the fall of '12, Market Saw asserts that their sources have it that Cuarón is the name being heavily favored. While there's sure to be an "official" denial from both the studio and the director himself, let's all remember the fervent denials about J.J. Abrams directing Episode VII that were tossed around by both sides until J.J. Abrams was suddenly directing Episode VII.That's all to say: until we have the name of who's directing Episode VIII in official writing, anything is possible.

More to the point: I'll go out on a limb and bet that most fans would see this as one of the better possibilities out there.

The Mexican director is most famous to the masses for his contribution to the Harry Potter movie franchise with The Prisoner of Azkaban - or possibly his 1998 adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow. Indie movie fans know him from his cult-hit erotic drama Y Tu Mamá También, while sci-fi fans were by and large impressed with his stunning sequencing in Children of Men. This year, Cuarón will continue his bold vision of sci-fi with Gravitya film starring Sandra Bullock mostly onscreen alone, playing an astronaut trying to make it home to Earth in a damaged spaceship.

However they came upon him, most people are happy with the results of Cuarón's work; like his countryman Guillermo del Toro, his name gets tossed in the ring for just about every big genre project supported by his geek/film school fanbase. But having him on Star Wars would be a big victory for fans and casual viewers alike.

The presence of Lawrence Kasdan has provoked immediate speculation that Episodes 8 & 9 are going to take things down a (slightly) darker path than Episode VII; word from the filmmakers of a desire to re-capture the tone and flow of the original trilogy only further backs that idea. Cuarón took Harry Potter and made a darkly beautiful and thematically rich young adult adventure that carried considerable weight and maturity (can you tell it's one of my favorites of the franchise?); Star Wars is well within his wheelhouse, as Children of Men - and hopefully Gravity - prove. Imagine a Star Wars battle scene filmed in a signature Cuarón one-take tracking shot... Oh yeah...

Star Trek Into Darkness - Worried Scotty

In a final update, Market Saw claims that actor Simon Pegg is joining the Star Wars franchise - though when, where, how and why remain unknown. Pegg is currently playing the iconic role of Scotty in J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek franchise - which is why any suggestion that he could be "jumping ship" to the rival Star Wars franchise (which is becoming less and less of a rivalry by the day, BTW) is probably going to set off loads of geek arguments.

UPDATE: Simon Pegg claims he has NO knowledge about this Star Wars rumor business:

Just remember: This is all RUMOR for now, but in our book the Cuarón theory is a welcome one.

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