Last October Disney took the world by storm by officially announcing their $4 billion+ acquisition of Lucasfilm and plans to continue the Star Wars saga, beginning with Episode VII in 2015. Rumors of old treatments and screenplay drafts by George Lucas, along with speculation on directors, actors and characters flooded media headlines, blogs and forums and it was impossible to decipher what was in truly in store for the next trilogy of live-action Star Wars films.
In the time since, we've learned that Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill are likely to return and that J.J. Abrams is officially going to direct off a script by Michael Arndt. Actors have begun reading for parts but no official information has been given about the cast or the title of the film.
A week after the acquisition, Market Saw reported on what they claimed to be story ideas for Star Wars: Episode 7 including one detail that went completely unnoticed - that Episode VII could be titled "A New Dawn". Now, 10 months later, Talk Balker is claiming they have an unverified source who also says the next franchise installment will indeed be titled Star Wars: Episode VII - A New Dawn. They however, gave make no mention of the original report.
The title itself is an obvious throwback to the original Star Wars: Episode IV which earned the subtitle A New Hope. If Abrams' take on Star Wars does indeed run with the A New Dawn title, its double meaning references a new age for the franchise, with new characters for new audiences, but it also likely refers to the beginning of a new age for what we expect is a new beginning of the Jedi Order led by Luke Skywalker - a common story thread in all of the Star Wars extended universe lore across every medium.
With Return of the Jedi ending with the death of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader - the last known remaining Sith - and Luke (and sister Leia) seemingly the last known Jedi, it's up to them to not only build the New Republic in the wake of the Empire's collapse, but to restart the Jedi Order.
On the casting front, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) has been making many related headlines as of late, with rumors that he may have already been secretly cast in Star Wars 7 simply due to his relationship with J.J. Abrams having played the primary antagonist of Star Trek Into Darkness. Additional reports pinned him as playing a possible Sith Warrior. His reps gave the obligatory denial and he himself said he wasn't offered a role, although he'd absolutely love to join the franchise, being a self-proclaimed fan.
While talking to press at the Toronto International Film Festival for The Fifth Estate, Cumberbatch gave the Telegraph the usual response:
"Of course I’d love to do Star Wars and work with JJ Abrams again because we had such a good time on Star Trek. But nobody has been cast and there are no offers out to anyone apart from the regulars who are returning. So that’s that rumor quashed."
But then he followed up with "We’ll have to wait and see," with a "grin" as the Telegraph describes. Take that for what you will but with principal photography expected to being early 2014, Disney and Lucasfilm will be making a load of casting decisions in the coming months.
Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively slated to reach theaters by Summer 2015, though it could wind up delayed until the Winter Holiday Season.
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Star Wars logo art by Enoch16