As we get closer to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this December 18, we’re still waiting ever so patiently to hear more about the first Star Wars spin-off film from Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards. Details are extremely limited, but a few actresses are said to be in contention for a leading role. As the plot for this and subsequent spin-offs are unknown, however, recent comments from Disney CEO Bob Iger have caused some to speculate that they might not be what Star Wars fans are expecting.
During a recent shareholder’s meeting, Iger made the following statement, as quoted by Get Your Geek On:
It’s only the beginning of a new era of exceptional Star Wars storytelling; next year we’ll release our first standalone movie based on these characters, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII in 2017, and we’ll finish this trilogy with Episode IX in 2019.
"It" is referring to Episode 7, and the CEO’s specific wording as been a subject of debate among sites like Screen Rant and ComicBook.com. They speculate that Iger could be implying that the stories and characters of the Star Wars spin-offs are based on the ones established in the new trilogy -- the ones played by Daisey Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver. It was previously thought that these films, which will be released in between the release years of Episodes 7, 8 in 2017 and 9 in 2019, would likely be prequels surrounding some of the more famous characters of the universe.
In support of this new theory, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy did seem rather suspect in talking about the spin-offs in the past. In a statement accompanying the press release for the enlistment Josh Trank, Kennedy referred to the films as a "new slate of movies that reach beyond the core characters and storylines of Episodes I through IX." This seems to support the idea that folks living in the time period of John Boyega’s Finn, Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron are fair game.
However, I’m personally not convinced of this major change just yet, as it seems like Iger was probably referring to the characters of the overall Star Wars canon. So far we’ve heard from the likes of Entertainment Weekly that these spin-offs would feature iconic characters such as bounty hunter Boba Fett and a young Han Solo. Edwards’ film, for one, is said to be leaning towards the story of a group of bounty hunters stealing the plans for the first Death Star, which, if true, would predate the new trilogy. Though, a recent rumor suggests that the Boba Fett armor and helmet could be handed down to the next generation, which would be one possible way to make both scenarios work (i.e. feature the likeness of an original character but set it in the Episode 7-led world).
As far as casting, Kate Mara (Fantastic Four), Rooney Mara (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) are said to have tested for a leading role in Edwards’ spin-off. In addition, a new rumor suggests that Michael Fassbender is the front-runner to enter the fray as Boba Fett. For now, all we know officially is that Disney has three of these spin-offs in the works, but we’ll keep our ears to the ground for more intel as it becomes available.