Nov. 1, 2012 at 10:43 AM ET
As for the plot, Star Wars superfans have a theory on what they'll be seeing next. But I have a surprise for them: They're wrong. If you're a fan, you're definitely gonna want to read on.
First of all, you should know that there is an official canon concerning the Star Wars universe. Those stories cover the years after rebel victory (i.e., after Return of the Jedi). It's written in a series of books called the Thrawn Trilogy, by author Timothy Zahn. Die-hard Star Wars fans know the trilogy well, and they say that a big-screen adaptation of the first book, "Heir to the Empire," would make the most logical Episode 7.
"Of all the speculation out there about the content of this new trilogy, that's the single most concrete idea," says Eric Geller of the fan site TheForce.net. "It's almost inevitable that the story will take place in the same time frame as those books."
So what happens in "those books?"
Well, Luke Skywalker meets a real would-be assassin lady named Mara Jade, who was trained to avenge the Emperor by crushing Luke's pretty blond head. Instead, Jade falls for Luke and, a subsequent graphic novel, the two marry. Skywalker also has to deal with the fact that he's the only Jedi left, at least, for now, and he goes about trying to fix that.
Princess Leia and Han Solo also play heavily into the Thrawn Trilogy, popping out a pair of twins (of course) among other things. As for the name Thrawn, well, that refers to a grand admiral with imperial sympathies who takes over as the leader of the vanquished enemy faction.
So is that the basis for Episode 7 or not? I've heard directly from LucasFilm and other sources close to the picture, and they say: Definitely not.
"It's an original story," a LucasFilm source tells me.
In other words, forget the Star Wars novels. Forget the graphic novels. Forget everything you think you know about what happens to Luke Skywalker. According to my sources, Episode 7 will literally be nothing you've ever seen or read before from the Star Wars universe.
I also hear from several sources that, no matter what you may hear to the contrary, no director has been officially attached to the project.
Meanwhile, there isn't much news regarding the other big Star Wars projects currently in development.
A spoofy cartoon TV series, Detours, was announced in August, spearheaded by Seth Green and the other creators of Robot Chicken. No release dates or networks were revealed, but Disney has said that it envisions some sort of Star Wars presence on its Disney XD channel. I wouldn't be surprised if Detours landed there.
Lastly, there's the live action series, which has been bubbling around since 2008 and which is supposed to take place between Episodes 3 and 4, when Luke Skywalker is growing up.
As I reported earlier, Lucasfilm was still talking in enthusiastic terms about Star Wars: Underworld less than a year ago. At that time, the show had a lot of scripts in the can but no financing. But if there's one thing that Disney has, it's money. Still, insiders tell me it's too soon to expect any announcements on either series.
Guess we'll just have to pray that Jar Jar has nothing to do with any of 'em.