[Potential MILD SPOILERS ahead for Star Wars: Episode VII.]
Here are the known facts so far, when it comes to Star Wars: Episode VII. The film takes place 30 years after Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (i.e. approximately, in real-world time) and features the "original trilogy" movie leads Luke Skywalker, Leia (Skywalker Solo?), and Han Solo - brought to life again by Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford - plus several new players that are being portrayed by talented newcomers to the Star Wars universe.
So, hereon forward, we are moving into RUMOR territory, where it concerns the plot details of Episode VII. For starters, let's ask the obvious question: what's been going on during the three decades that've passed by since the second Death Star was destroyed and Emperor Palpatine was defeated?
Well, according to some of the recent rumors, a New Republic has yet to be established in the Star Wars universe, unlike what had happened in the Star Wars "Expanded Universe" literature of old by this point in time (remember, the old EU is officially not canon moving from this point forward).
The reason? At first, the claim was that this is because there have been these "Jedi Hunters" who worship the Sith, running around the galaxy and causing trouble for our heroes. Subsequent, but also unconfirmed, reports have instead stated that although there are "mercenary types" that may've been causing problems for a while by the time Episode VII picks up, their allegiance to the Sith is not yet a given.
A separate report posted by JoBlo lines up with these other rumors in one important sense - they all indicate that Palpatine's death did not usher in an era of peace in the Star Wars universe, as detailed below:
- In general the setting looks kind of post-apocalyptic with a lot of leftover vestige from the empire. It seems much more dark and rough than the prequels. The feeling was that it has not been easy in the last 30 years since RETURN OF THE JEDI, probably with a very long war to truly "end" the empire.
- There are still white storm troopers in action. The empire is probably not completely dead.
Regardless of whether the "post-apocalyptic" description is accurate or a bit of an exaggeration, it would make sense for characters such as Luke Skywalker to have spent years battling the remnants of the Galactic Empire, by the time Episode VII gets underway. Such was the case in the old Expanded Universe literature, after all, and in the past many fans have speculated that we could see elements of that material (such as the Thrawn Saga) play out in co-writer/director J.J. Abrams' Star Wars movie.
Other, and related, popular rumors right now include:
- Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) and Adam Driver (Girls) - both confirmed Episode VII cast members - playing villains in the film.
- The threat(s) to the galaxy featured in Episode VII have connections to The Inquisitor and his troops, who shall be introduced in the upcoming animated TV series Star Wars Rebels - the next canon installment in the Star Wars franchise, now that Walt Disney Pictures owns Lucasfilm.
The rumor that Driver is playing a baddie in Episode VII has been around for a while now, though that doesn't necessarily mean he and/or Nyong'o's characters have strong ties to the faded, but not yet dead Empire - though, if that's the case, it would make sense. As for the Rebels/Episode VII connection talk, that may stem in part from confusion about whether actor David Oyelowo (The Butler) is working on both projects or just one of them. (TheForce.net continues to assert that he is, in fact, voicing an antagonist on Rebels.)
Still, if the plan is to create an immersive Star Wars experience for fans hereon out, having The Inquistor and his forces be linked to the remnants of the Empire in Episode VII, would be one way to do that. Be sure and take the idea with the customary grain of salt, of course, until we get some official insight on the matter.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015.
"A Bloody Empire" artwork by Ninja-of-Athens on DeviantArt
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