We're still waiting to learn who is going to be directing Star Wars: Episode VII, with Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) currently rumored to be the top contender for the job. However, it appears that Disney has plans far bigger than a third Star Wars trilogy, now that the studio has acquired Lucasfilm.
It was confirmed last week that Lawrence Kasdan (co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg (co-writer of Sherlock Holmes) are penning new Star Wars installments in addition to Episode VII - which is being scripted by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). We're now being told that those projects might not be Episodes VIII and IX after all; instead, Kasdan and Kinberg could be writing separate films that also take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
THR has learned from its insiders that Kasdan and Kinberg are "not necessarily" working on Episodes VIII & IX; rather, their screenplays could end up serving as either official 'Episodes' or spinoffs that revolve around side characters outside of the Skywalker clan and their close acquaintances (Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, etc.). Disney CEO Robert Iger has said the intention is to release a new Star Wars movie "every two to three years" - beginning with Episode VII in 2015 - but it now appears that some of these films could indeed focus around "other pieces of the expansive mythos."
However, it's worth noting that soon-to-be Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has announced that the company wants to produce a few (Lucasfilm) movies on a yearly basis. When you put the pieces together, it does seem feasible that there could be Star Wars spinoffs released during the interim between 'Episodes' (after Episode VII releases, that is). Moreover, the indication now is that Disney and Lucasfilm are relying on a set of blueprints for constructing the expanded Star Wars movie universe that resembles what was used to build Marvel's Cinematic Universe, with the 'Episodes' narrative thread serving in the same unifying capacity as Avengers installments in the MCU.
Star Wars Expanded Universe literature and the Clone Wars animated TV series have already demonstrated there are countless worlds to explore and stories to tell - outside those concerning the battle to restore freedom to the galaxy - and the vastness of the setting makes it easier for writers to avoid getting bogged down in the task of tying all the events of the Star Wars galaxy together (whether working on a new novel, comic book, TV show, and now film).
That's to say, the task of building a shared Star Wars movie-verse should prove to be much simpler (and cleaner) than putting together a coherent Marvel movie-verse proved to be in Phase One of the MCU. After all, the events that transpire in a standalone feature about a single side character (such as the Boba Fett movie proposed by Joe Johnston) need not have much - if any - effect on the central 'Episodes' thread, so there's wiggle room for various screenwriters to come in and experiment by telling different sorts of Star Wars stories.
Are you intrigued by the idea of an 'expanded' Star Wars movie-verse? Let us know in the comments section.