[dropcap]S[/dropcap]peaking at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Disney Chairman Alan Horn has confirmed the release schedule for the hotly anticipated new Star Wars trilogy. The first of the three films will arrive in 2015, the second in 2017, and the third in 2019.
It was announced that Disney would be bringing the epic space saga back to our screens last October, when the Mouse House bought Lucasfilm for $4.05bn. Much of what we think we know about the new films is down to conjecture, but there has been the odd ‘confirmed’ morsel to get our teeth into.
The first of the three new films, currently styled as Episode VII, will be directed by overqualified sci-fi geek and lens-flare lover JJ Abrams, whose alternate timeline Star Trek movies are currently tearing a shiny swathe through popular cinema (Star Trek: Into Darkness will be released in May). The film is being scripted by the Oscar-winning Michael Arndt, of Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine fame. Original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford have all said that they would like to return to the series, but we have no official castings as of yet.
Horn also confirmed what we semi-knew already, that several Star Wars spin-offs are in the works, but nothing else has been said about these films other than that Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote the screenplays for Episodes V and VI) and Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes) are working on the scripts. The characters of Yoda, Han Solo and Boba Fett have all been tipped to get their own movies, but no release dates for these have yet been mentioned (although some have conjectured that they might materialise in the years between the releases of the ‘official’ trilogy, so as to have a new Star Wars film being released every year).
Now that we have an official timescale for the movies, Disney will have to get their skates on – they’ve only got two years to put together what is going to have to be the best Star Wars film ever made. If they fall short, we might find ourselves right back in the ‘Prequel-Gate’ of 1999, and no-one wants that. Here’s hoping that if anyone can do it, and do it right, Disney can.