There's been far more speculation and rumor-mongering about Star Wars: Episode VII than there has been official news, much like its fellow 2015 heavyweight, Batman vs. Superman (or the majority of anticipated franchise installments due to hit theaters that same year, for that matter).
What's interesting about today's Episode VII-related tidbit is that it doesn't come from an anonymous industry source; rather, from someone who has a history with the property, having heard this information straight from the mouth of another Star Wars vet. Therein lies the rub, though, as once you start to unpack this "update," it only make the overall picture murkier, rather than shedding new light.
Samuel L. Jackson - who played purple lightsaber-wielding Mace Windu in Episodes I-III (a.k.a. the Star Wars prequel trilogy) - was a guest last week on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he dropped some unexpected news: that he's recently spoken to Mark Hamill - the pair are working on a new project that Jackson didn't name - who told him that he's yet to hear from J.J. Abrams about Episode VII (i.e. the film that Abrams is producing and directing, in addition to co-writing now).
Watch a clip from SLJ's Letterman appearance, for more on that (hat tip to /Film for bringing this to our attention):
Jackson also mentioned that he recently talked on the phone with Ewan McGregor (who played young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy), but the latter also claimed to be in the dark about his potential involvement in any future Star Wars movies. In case you missed this particular Episode VII rumor when it dropped: it was about three months ago when word started to circulate that McGregor will reprise his Jedi character (via as a force ghost) in Abrams' film and maybe even beyond. Indeed, that's one of a handful of rumors floating around, with respect to what characters from Episodes I-VI will return (in some form) in the new era of Star Wars live-action movies.
However, it should be clarified that the McGregor and Hamill situations aren't really that comparable, as no authority less than Star Wars creator George Lucas previously let it slip that Hamill - along with his Episodes IV-VI costars Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher - have already entered final negotiations to appear in Episode VII. Moreover, multiple sources have confirmed that Hamill is getting in shape to play an older Luke Skywalker in Abrams' film (including, the actor's good friend Robert Englund), so it would be strange for that plan to have changed drastically; even now that Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) have taken over writing from Michael Arndt (Catching Fire).
So what, exactly, is going on with Episode VII right now? Well, assuming that Jackson wasn't simply misled by his buddy Hamill - the former was correct about Elizabeth Olsen being set as Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2 after all - it could be a testament to the idea that development on the new Star Wars movie is going slower than expected, rather than a sign that Hamill won't be involved after all.
In fact, that's almost a given right now (unofficially speaking), as it seems that Episode VII was delayed from a May 2015 release date to December that year, as a compromise between Disney CEO Robert Iger and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy (who wanted it pushed back to 2016 to allow for additional development time). Likewise, with casting for Episode VII open to the public, it might not be unreasonable to assume that Abrams hasn't paused to reach out to any unconfirmed cast members (see: Harrison Ford's noncommittal comments on the subject).
Of course, this confusion may also be due to Chinese Whispers, as Hamill might have simply meant that he hasn't been contacted recently by Abrams about Episode VII, rather than not at all (which doesn't negate the theory about pre-production going slower than expected and/or desired). As Yoda would advise: patience, more information we may soon have.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.
Source: Samuel L. Jackson [via /Film]