It looks like Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg may not be writing Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VIII and Episode IX as originally reported two weeks ago. Instead, the Hollywood Reporter has backtracked on their original story to state that the writers are still going to pen adventures taking place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, but those films will be spin-off features and not part of the recently announced new trilogy of Star Wars films.
As with their original report, the Reporter is stating that the studio is not commenting on their plans right now.
But this does make a bit more sense in conjunction with everything else we know about Disney’s plans so far. When they first announced the purchase of George Lucas’s Lucasfilm at the end of last month they stated that they wanted to keep releasing a new Star Wars film every two to three years and that they would be kicking things off with a new trilogy that would follow on from 1983’s Return Of The Jedi. A few days later it was revealed that Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt had written a detailed, 40-to-50 page treatment for this new trilogy and that he was already hard at work on the script for the first new installment.
When the Hollywood Reporter broke the news of Kasdan and Kinberg working on screenplays for Star Wars films, it was also stated that they would be receiving producer credits for the films that they would be writing, which seemed strange as it had not been reported that Arndt was receiving any type of similar credit for his work. But with the Kasdan and Kinberg writing movies that take place in the Star Wars universe but aren’t necessarily part of the new trilogy, the credit makes a bit more sense.
If the Reporter’s sources are correct with this, it shows that Disney and Lucasfilm are taking the long view in terms of managing this franchise. Given that the first film of the new trilogy isn’t due in theaters until 2015, it looks as if we wouldn’t see any new non-trilogy film until about 2021 at the earliest.
I suppose that Disney could be thinking about spacing out the main trilogy films a bit more than one every two to three years and are looking to Kasdan’s and Kinberg’s projects to plug the gap on the calendar between releases. However, I could see this as causing some confusion with average moviegoers showing up expecting to see resolution to whatever cliffhanger characters may have been left in at the end of the last film only to be greeted with Episode 7.5 and 8.5.