[UPDATE: This Rumor has been officially debunked by the person who reported it. FAIL.]
The now Disney-owned Lucasfilm is developing a new, original Star Wars trilogy, that may lead to another trilogy and many spin-offs along the way. Star Wars Episode VII will mark the beginning of the franchise's return in 2015 and has a story in place, written by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). For Star Wars Episode VIII and Episode IX, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg will reportedly write and produce.
Outside of knowing that these movies will continue the saga and pick up sometime after the events of the original trilogy, no offiical information has been released regarding what stories or characters will be presented. We do have however, more evidence that lends credence to the idea of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker returning.
In a report about the "end of the world" this Friday (time to party!) - an idea stemmed from the belief that the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar (December 21, 2012 on the Gregorian calendar) signifies the end of days - Reuters explores the relationship between Mayan culture and Star Wars, potentially revealing a major story detail for the next trilogy.
In the original Star Wars (A New Hope), the Rebel Alliance had set up shop inside the great Massassi Temple on Yavin 4, one of three habitable moons surrounding the gas giant planet of Yavin. The location plays a big part in the film's final act where we see Luke Skywalker enlist as a pilot in an attempt to help stop the Empire's Death Star space station from destroying the moon. And it was shot on location in the Guatemalan rainforest where ruins of Maya temples stand in between treetops.
The entire lower level of the temple was refitted into a hangar for the Rebels' X-Wing and Y-Wing starfighters. Thousands of years earlier in Star Wars lore, an infamous Sith Lord took refuge on Yavin 4 and had his Massassi slaves construct the temples. In the Extended Universe novels, after the events of Return of the Jedi and the downfall of the Empire, Luke Skywalker returned there to start a new Jedi Academy.
According to Reuters' sources, that's going to happen in Star Wars Episode 7. Disney however, is more likely to use sound stages as opposed to returning to the Tikal archaeological site.
UPDATE: Website The Force now has Reuters reporter Michael McDonald falling on this proverbial sword. McDonald claims that he got mixed up about Disney's plans for Episode VII and some Star Wars expanded universe fiction:
This was a mistake. I misunderstood what fan clubs had told me and shown me in book plots and that storyline has not been announced by Disney. Perhaps I should have written something along the lines of ‘Yavin 4 appears in several Star Wars book plots and while Guatemala fans said they hope film crews return to Tikal, the company has not announced plans for the new episode.’
If Skywalker is set to return and launch the New Jedi Order, what other elements from the extended fiction will be taken? Award-winning Star Wars author Timothy Zahn created the characters of Jaina & Jacen Solo for instance, the twin children of Han Solo and Princess Leia, who also appear in Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy trilogy and Young Jedi Knights series. If Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher return - and they've expressed interest in doing so - then count on their children being introduced as well.
Star Wars isn't finished yet, therefore the world can't be finished yet.
Star Wars Episode 7 will hit theaters in 2015.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Header edited from art by SWTOR Serenity.