UPDATE! Since originally publishing this article we've learned a lot about what Disney has planned for Star Wars: Episode 7. A full summary of all the latest Episode VII developments can be found in our what we know so far guide But below is a quick a break down of everything known about the plot of the next Star Wars movie so far....

  • JJ Abrams has been announced as the movie's director
  • Michael Arndt is penning the screenplay.
  • Mark Hamill will be back as Luke Skywalker
  • Carrie Fisher will return as Princess Leia.
  • Harrison Ford will be back as Han Solo.
  • Star Wars: Episode 7 will be released in December of 2015.
  • John Williams, who composed the score for all six previous Star Wars movies will return to compose the score for Episode VII.

  • Our original discussion of possibilities for Star Wars: Episode 7's plot follows...

    Star Wars X-Wing

    That thud you heard this afternoon was the collective jaws of the Star Wars nation hitting the floor.

    News broke that a seventh film in the thought-to-be-finished franchise was heading into production now that Lucasfilm had been sold to Walt Disney Pictures (in a deal that’s rumored to be near $4 billion). And as details continued to emerge, fans learned that Episode VII, due in theaters by 2015, will be the first of three new Star Wars films produced by Kathleen Kennedy, with George Lucas hanging around as a creative consultant.

    Holy cow.

    I immediately jumped on a GChat with the biggest Star Wars geek I know: Adam Frazier of Geeks of Doom, who assured me that this is a great day for fans of the series. We immediately began discussing where the Star Wars storyline could and should go from here, as well as who should be shepherding the project as a director. Let’s break this news in half and see what emerges:

    Sean: So, Adam, this is a bit of a bombshell. Not only the selling of Lucasfilm, which is huge, but the announcement of a seventh Star Wars film. Because they are maintaining continuity by calling it Episode VII (from what we can tell so far), do you think that means they will try to keep characters that we've seen in the original trilogy? Or do you believe we will start over completely with new characters and new worlds?

    Adam: Yeah, it's hard to say, especially with George Lucas staying on as "Creative Consultant" -- being as he's maintained for years that there is no 7, 8, 9 -- and yet you've got tons of books in the Extended Universe like The Thrawn Trilogy or the Dark Empire graphic novels that have been accepted by fans as kind of the unofficial episode 7, 8, 9.

    I feel like they can't really recast the characters, so they either have to fast-forward in time to where Luke is essentially the new Obi-Wan, or go even further into the future with new characters.

    Sean: That's interesting. I never really followed the storyline after the Original Trilogy. Did you?

    Adam: I did. I'm actually staring at the Dark Empire and Thrawn Trilogy books as we speak (er...chat). In the Dark Empire storyline, Luke had a brief flirtation with the Dark Side and at one point followed in his father's footsteps as apprentice to the Emperor. (Yes, Emperor Palpatine -- a clone that absorbed the dead Palpatine's force ghost, or something.) Luke's turn was short-lived though. He taught Leia in the ways of the Force. She became a Jedi and had three children with Han: twins Jacen and Jaina; and Anakin Solo.

    Luke had a child of his own with Mara Jade, Ben Skywalker -- and Chewbacca died, sacrificing his life for Han and his family. That's all I remember off the top of my head, but there's no shortage of source material for Disney to pull from if they choose to. Though I'm assuming we'll be seeing all new stories.

    Also... does this mean Leia is now A DISNEY PRINCESS!?

    Sean: At the very least, everything you're saying here gives me a lot of hope that there are well-established plots that future screenwriters and directors could follow if they chose to go in this direction. It doesn't sound like they're simply hoping to crank out a film that has the Star Wars name because they know that it's bankable. There are legitimate places that this story can go on screen without tarnishing the legacy of the Original Trilogy. But basically, I have to ask: As a massive Star Wars fan, are you excited about the potential of another movie?

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