Arguably more than any other film in the series, the title of Star Wars: Episode VII is the most important. It not only marks the return of the cinematic universe but it must overcome the negative buzz and mixed reactions to the prequel trilogy. The franchise needs to (re)start on the right foot and has the highest of expectations, so that title, that branding that will kickstart what could be the biggest franchise ever (again), means so much.
It also marks the beginning of the Star Wars franchise under new ownership at Disney and under a new creative vision with a new director, writer and new cast, which made the previously rumored title of Episode 7 oddly fitting: A New Dawn.
Our friends at Latino-Review may have discovered the answer to one of the questions we're all wondering. Their insider reveals that the two working titles for Episode VII based on a screenplay written by Michael Arndt (Oblivion, Toy Story 3) are Return of the Sith and Rise of the Jedi.
Let's forget for a moment that Harrison Ford being hesitant on returning (he's going to return) and focus on the naming of the numbered Star Wars installments so far, not counting the animated feature, in chronological order of release.
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (originally just "Star Wars")
- Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (originally subtitled Revenge of the Jedi)
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Note the title of Episode III paying homage to the original title of Episode VI, a title that was changed pre-release at the last minute because "revenge" wasn't a word that should be associated with the Jedi Order. The two working titles for Episode VII though both refer to the resurgence of both the Jedi and Sith orders, meaning the Force will play a big part in the trilogy. Hopefully Abrams and co. forget about the Midi-chlorians reveal in Episode I that completely dashed the mystery the "Force" in the prequels.
LR explains that these are working titles George Lucas had when working on Star Wars stories again for episodes 7-9 (or perhaps even treatments for episodes 7-12), something his son Jett Lucas confirmed his dad was doing before selling the empire to Disney. Both titles are a little uninspired and generic, especially considering the naming of the third installment in each trilogy so there's a good chance neither will be used.
Which title do you prefer? And if you could name it anything, what would it be?
Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively slated to reach theaters by Summer 2015, though it could wind up delayed until the Winter Holiday Season.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.