Disney and Lucasfilm's rumor mill for Star Wars: Episode VII seems to offer updates on everything except what fans want to know about the highly anticipated next installment of saga. As Anthony Daniels teases the possible return of C-3P0 and release date info coupled with an idea of when we might see a teaser, the hard facts remain common knowledge: there will be a seventh feature film, it will be directed by J.J. Abrams from a script by Michael Arndt (based on material developed by George Lucas), and it will release in 2015.
As listeners of the recent Screen Rant Underground podcast recapping NYCC 2013 know, we here at SR are getting just as weary of hearing these rumors as most readers and fans. Questions of whether or not Episode VII will feature a female protagonist as well as the return of the original cast boil down to a smoke-screen as well as unabashed rumor-mongering.
However, it appears that there is one major original character we could be seeing again, but not necessarily on the big screen. A page from the brochure given to those who attended the European Brand Licensing Show in London from October 15-17 seems to detail all of Disney's major plans for multi-platform Star Wars releases. You can view a highlighted picture of the page HERE (courtesy of Jedi News, via Collider).
The source for this - known only as "Scruffy Bothan" (Return of the Jedi fans will recognize Bothans as the spies who provided the Rebels with plans for the second Death Star; many were killed to give them this information) included a breakdown of the main points:
This is a page from the Disney brochure given out to the attendees of the European Brand Licensing Show. This is the detailed current calendar plan from Disney for the Star Wars brand. Plenty of little bits of info that will stir much debate and discussion:
- Star Wars Mobile LEGO games following on from successful app releases of the Batman and Harry Potter platform ports. Coming in Spring / Summer 2014.
- A Star Wars Digital Library is to launch in Autumn / Winter 2014.
- Confirmation that the plan remains for Star Wars Episode VII to be released in the Spring / Summer of 2015.
- But perhaps the most surprising, exciting and fast approaching news is the release of “Darth Vader Themed TV Specials.”
Beyond this helpfully delineated compilation, here is a complete list of multi-platform releases from the brochure page:
- LEGO Star Wars The Yoda Chronicles Episodes 2 & 3
- Star Wars/Angry Birds Game Sequel Release
- Clone Wars Season 5 BR/DVD Release
- 'Choose Your Side' cross-company marketing initiative
- Classic Lego Games Mobile Release
- Darth Vader Themed TV Specials
- REBELS Television Premiere; Disney Channel 1-Hour Special with series on Disney XD
- Digital Library Launch
- Phineas & Ferb Star Wars Special
- EPISODE VII Theatrical Release
Beyond these, Disney lists a "Continuous Multi-Platform Engagement," which includes "Star Wars and Jedi Training Academy at Disney Parks," "May the 4th Be With You fan holiday," and "Social Media and PR, & Character Appearances."
The actual brochure page certainly looks authentic, but as always, this is to be taken with several tons of salt. While this list of releases includes items we know to be authentic - the upcoming Star Wars Rebels TV series, the Blu-Ray release of The Clone Wars Season 5, and the 2015 release date of Episode VII - the official page for Disney Consumer Products at the Brand Licensing Europe 2013 website does not list anything Star Wars-related among the brands featured. In other words, "Scruffy Bothan" might be a double-agent.
That said, a multi-platform media blitz makes perfect sense and is to be expected. The most exciting items are the spring/summer release date, the Darth TV specials, and the release of a digital library (the latter item sounds like it could mean that Disney will make the previous six films - and presumably The Clone Wars - available to stream on demand in some form, on some platform).
But what about Vader? We've seen his entire story played out in three original films and the three prequels, with his back-story filled out with The Clone Wars, but the chunk of time between The Revenge of the Sith and the first Star Wars film is largely incomplete, at least in the form of a proper film or TV adaptation. The 2008 console game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and it's 2010 sequel, The Force Unleashed 2, attempted to cover that ground by featuring a turncoat former Sith apprentice of Vader's. But there's still plenty of ground to cover with the character, considered he's one of the greatest screen villains of all time.
Authentic or not, this release plan is every bit as ambitious and multi-faceted as one should expect from Disney, and certainly illustrates their plan to make the most out of the ongoing public affection for all things Star Wars. Even if this list is not entirely accurate, Disney's actual plan is sure to run along these lines.