We know this headline sounds like some sort of sick joke, but it's not: Disney has just purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in cash and stock, and it'll be pushing out Star Wars Episode VII by 2015.
Here's what George Lucas said about the deal today:
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come."
Here's what George Lucas said about the possibility of an Episode 7 at a press conference back in 1999:
Q: Does that mean you won't do Episodes VII, VIII and IX?Recently (that is, within the last 20 years or so), Lucas has maintained that "the movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that's where that story ends." You've probably heard, however, that Lucas originally conceptualized a series of at least nine films, including three prequels and three sequels to the "original" trilogy. We've got the prequels, of course, and over the years, Lucas has dropped a few hints as to what the storyline of the sequels might be. Here are some possibilities, as collected from interviews in the 1980s:
Lucas: I will not do VII, VIII and IX.
Q: You will not? Will they be made by somebody else?
Lucas: No. They will not.
Q: So this trilogy ends it?
Lucas: This is it. This is all there is.
- Episode VII would begin anywhere from 20 or 40 years after Episode VI (Return of the Jedi).
- The final trilogy would cover the rebuilding of the Republic after the fall of the Empire, and would deal with the moral and philosophical problems involved in that process.
- Luke would be working on becoming the best Jedi Knight in the galaxy, and he'd have a girlfriend (who wouldn't be his sister).
- R2-D2 and C-3PO would be the only characters likely to appear in all nine movies.
All of these potential story lines are over 30 years old, but at the same time, you have to assume that whatever plan Lucas had for the whole thing was in place for a reason, and that he had all of that stuff in mind while shooting the original trilogy, and therefore it wouldn't be completely crazy to continue it with a sequel to Return of the Jedi. On the other hand, Lucas has much more recently said that he's done with the whole thing, and while he's apparently signed on as "creative consultant" for Disney's new Star Wars empire, the fate of the movies is now (for better or worse) out of his hands.