This isn’t the Episode VII promised by Disney but something extra, suggesting they’re going to explore the “Star Wars” universe beyond the linear Obi-Wan/Anakin/Luke plot line. No surprise — when you’ve just bought Hollywood’s biggest cash cow, you’re going to want to milk it — but I’m still ambivalent. If they use generic Jedi characters then it could be that all you’re watching is a movie you’ve already seen except with lightsabers, which feels more like “Star Wars” licensing than a true “Star Wars movie.” If they use Obi-Wan et al. then the characters you’re familiar with risk losing some of their integrity, as if they’re just, er, action figures being made to act out whatever classic plot the studio thought would be neat to remake. Coming soon: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” starring Han, Boba Fett, and Chewbacca?
Having said all that, a remake of “Ikiru” featuring Luke slowly dying from an infection of his stump could be quite affecting.
Back in November, the Los Angeles Times reported that Man of Steel and 300 director Zack Snyder said he had no interest in directing the hotly anticipated seventh Star Wars film. But Vulture has learned that while this may be specifically true — he won’t be doing Episode VII — it was a bit of misdirection: He is in fact developing a Star Wars project for Lucasfilm that is set within the series’ galaxy, though parallel to the next trilogy. It will be an as-yet-untitled Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, with the ronin and katana being replaced by the Force-wielding knights and their iconic lightsabers. (Go ahead, say it — you know you want to: “ … an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” Felt good, didn’t it?)
It’s not clear just where Snyder’s untitled Jedi film would fall within the Star Wars chronology, but one insider expects it will not be considered part of the “numbered” episodes, but rather a stand-alone film set sometime post–Episode VI events, meaning the next phase of the franchise development is much broader than previously thought.
Presumably they’ll follow Marvel’s lead and introduce new characters in separate features with an eye to uniting them in one box-office-busting mega-feature down the road. Imagine the battle scenes when the Jedis you met in the third, seventh, and ninth new movies team up to challenge the Sith villains who debuted in the second, fifth, and eighth ones. Episode XXIII is going to be a barnburner. Especially if they land that much hoped for cameo by an 87-year-old Harrison Ford.
Exit question: What happens when “Star Wars” goes indie? Is it … this?