Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens this December, which you're no doubt aware of being a loyal Screen Rant reader. When it does, the Disney-era of the Star Wars saga officially begins (though technically it already did with Star Wars Rebels). Disney plans on releasing a new Star Wars film every year through 2020; like a well-oiled machine, churning out core Episodes and standalone spinoffs in a steady succession.
After J.J. Abrams gets Episode VII off the ground, it'll be followed by a Gareth Edwards-directed standalone feature from a script by recent hire, Chris Weitz. Then Rian Johnson will follow by helming Episode VIII, after which Josh Trank will direct the next Star Wars standalone film.
Beyond the cast for The Force Awakens - which did include a lot of surprising but welcomed additions - the rumored cast of the first Star Wars spinoff tends to be even more intriguing, especially so thanks to how little we know about the film. Most recently, Tatiana Maslany, Rooney Mara, and Kate Mara were all said to have tested, but again, it's unclear what the role is.
That about wraps up what we know about the first standalone Star Wars film and it leaves a lot of room for rumor and speculation. The most recent report had mentioned a bounty hunter-led heist to secure the Death Star plans. The latest rumors imply Edwards' spinoff wouldn't just feature any bounty hunters, but Boba Fett specifically, with Han Solo joining in on the fun.
And now, Disney CEO Bob Iger has hinted that the first Star Wars standalone film will focus on characters from Episode VII. While speaking with Get Your Geek On podcast, Iger said:
"As one of the few people allowed to visit the set during filming….and one of the fewer who’s seen most of the footage…I can assure the millions of 'Star Wars' fans who have spent the last decade hoping for a new movie this one will be worth the wait. And it’s only the beginning of a new era of exceptional Star Wars storytelling; next year we’ll release our first standalone movie based on these characters, followed by 'Star Wars: Episode VIII' in 2017, and we’ll finish this trilogy with Episode IX in 2019."
His confirmation of Episodes VIII and IX's releases as well as calling The Force Awakens a film "worth the wait" are both rather typical and expected comments, but it's his phrasing of "next year we'll release our first standalone movie based on these characters" that has our interest piqued.
Iger's use of "these characters" could mean one of two things: he could be referring to the characters of the Star Wars universe as whole OR Iger could be implying that the first Star Wars spinoff will feature characters introduced in Episode VII.
If it turns out to be the former, then we're stuck knowing just as little about this first Star Wars standalone as we did before Iger's comments. But if it's the latter, we can start narrowing down the possibilities. Obviously, there will be three new protagonists and a few potential villains in Episode VII, and any one of them could potentially star in their own movie. Of course, that's not even including supporting characters we don't yet know about.
What do you make of Bob Iger's statement about the future of Star Wars movies? Could he be implying the first Star Wars standalone film will feature new characters introduced in Episode VII? Let us hear what you think in the comments below!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Gareth Edwards’ spinoff on December 16th, 2016.