Ever since Disney announced Star Wars: Episode VII (after buying Lucasfilm), we've been awaiting some official confirmation about whether or not original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo in the film. That could lend more credibility to rumor about the trio passing the baton to a new generation of actors, who might be playing their characters' offspring (remember, that's not at all confirmed).
It's becoming increasingly obvious that all three fan-favorites are gearing up for a return trip to George Lucas' iconic galaxy far, far, away, between Hamill confirming that discussions are ongoing and Fisher indicating it's a done deal before quickly assuring everyone it was just a "joke." (Translation: She let the cat out of the bag too early?) We can add Lucas himself to the growing list of people who aren't doing a very good job of keeping this "secret" under-wraps.
Lucas was quick to realize his mistake, as illustrated by the following quote and article excerpt (via Bloomberg Businessweek):
"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation," Lucas said. "So I called them to say, 'Look, this is what's going on.'" He pauses. "Maybe I'm not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them." Then he adds: "I won't say whether the negotiations were successful or not."
The remainder of the article focuses on interesting aspects concerning the financial side of Disney and Lucasfilm's deal, with some intriguing tidbits concerning how Lucas heavily resisted handing over his original treatments for Episodes 7 and beyond. However, the big thing to take away from this is that Hamill, Fisher and Ford are essentially locked down for the next installment, barring any unexpected (and unlikely) last-minute breakdowns in negotiations.
We've been hearing about the storyline for Episode VII features older versions of Luke, Leia and Han (re: age-approriate for the actors) ever since the news got out that Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) is working on the script. Hopefully, Disney and Lucasfilm will issue a press release confirming the actors are coming back, so we can finally move onto more interesting questions and debates about the original cast.
- Will (or should) they be involved with any of the forthcoming standalone installments?
- Are their characters going to appear beyond Episode VII or is this a one-time deal?
- What is the most effective way to use them in these new Star Wars movies?
- Who else should return from the original trilogy? (Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, FTW!)
Similarly, with J.J. Abrams directing Episode VII, there's all the more reason to wonder about who will follow in the footsteps of Anakin and Luke Skywalker by serving as the third trilogy's protagonist (maybe Han and Leia's daughter); not to mention, unsettled matters like how much the next wave of installments will harken back to the 'retro' style of the original trilogy, or continue with the CGI sheen of the prequels.
We're not even going to touch the hot debate about whether John Williams ought to score the new trilogy (since he's ready and willing), or instead help another composer to assume that responsibility...
Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively scheduled to reach theaters by 2015.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek