“The books were always just the books:” Timothy Zahn on the Star Wars sequels and fan hopes for Heir

Entertainment Weekly caught up with Timothy Zahn to talk about the week’s big announcement and the amount of mainstream attention that the Thrawn trilogy has been getting due to all the speculation – and what he knew of possible plans for a trilogy after Return of the Jedi.

That means Zahn’s books won’t be directly adapted, but the author says that was always the case: “The books were always just the books.”

But years ago, he was briefed on Lucas’ plans for sequels, and how the Thrawn books would fit in. “The original idea as I understood it— and Lucas changes his mind off and on, so it may not be what he’s thinking right now – but it was going to be three generations. You’d have the original trilogy, then go back to Luke’s father and find out what happened to him [in the prequels], and if there was another 7th, 8th, or 9th film, it would be Luke’s children. The Thrawn Trilogy really would have fit into the gap,” the author said.

Tim talks – vaguely! – about what kind of things he’d like to see in the new films.

Roundup: Does the Disney buyout mean The Clone Wars is headed for a new channel?

The Clone Wars. The Hollywood Reporter’s sources confirm that the cartoon will likely be making the move to Disney XD. Cartoon Network, which is owned by Turner/Time Warner, has the rights only up through current season. DisneyXD airs action-oriented shows and currently has a block dedicated to Marvel cartoons.

Episode 7 rumors. First Showing has a source denying the 1952 rumor, while Skywalking author Dale Pollock tells The Wrap that 7, 8 and 9 were the “most exciting stories.” And though there have been some rumblings from some hopeful to see Steven Spielberg finally take on a full Star Wars film, Spielberg fan Paul Bullock lays out some reasons why this is unlikely.

Ladies! Slate’s Alyssa Rosenberg on how women can save the Star Wars franchise. Like I said earlier, I would love a female protagonist heading this thing! It doesn’t even have to be someone we already know.

Reaction. Entertainment Weekly nabbed some big name Hollywood talent on how they feel about more Star Wars. Knights Archive has a nice collection of comments from Lucasfilm folks, authors, actors and other notables. MTV talked to TFN’s Eric Geller and Big Shiny Robot’s Bryan Young, while ABC News asked Devi Laskar, artist Tom Hodges, and yours truly. And our friends over the pond at Jedi News are talking to the U.K. media! But you don’t have to go to the news sites: Thoughts from fans like Michael Heilemann and Amy Ratcliffe. As for Expanded Universe fans, here are more thoughts from Tosche Station’s Brian, Knight Archive’s Ryan, and Fangirl’s Tricia Barr.

Speculation! Lists! People just can’t stop writing them. The Hollywood Reporter finds 15 potential writers, Slashfilm has 10 filmmakers to direct (and 5 who shouldn’t,) and Big Shiny Robot has yet more possible directors. Taking a different track, Screenrant has pros and cons of the deal, while Hitfix has some things to watch.

And now for something completely different… You know it’s not real news until crazy folks at NMA weigh in with a video. For something more serious, check out Empire’s infographic of who has what franchises.

Conspiracy theory: Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof to direct, write Episode 7?

An AICN reader has a theory: That Disney has been making moves towards Lost’s Damon Lindelof and Pixar’s Brad Bird as the writer and director of Episode 7. This all hinges on the mystery film 1952 as the new Blue Harvest. (Hat tip to our old pal Fatboy Roberts.)

Bird has directed The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Lindelof is best known as the co-creator of Lost. He also produced 2009’s Star Trek and worked on the script for the sequel. He has writing credits for Prometheus and Cowboys & Aliens.

Bird is also listed on IMDB as director on 1906, a film in pre-production about the San Francisco earthquakes, but IMDB has never been 100% trustworthy on ‘early’ news of films.

What does 1952 mean to Star Wars? It’s the year Liam Neeson was born. In film history, it’s the year that High Noon and The Greatest Show on Earth and the first full color 3D movie were released. George Lucas was 8 that year – do any of these films ring a bell for Star Wars scholars?

UPDATE: First Showing has a source which claims that 1952 has nothing to do with Star Wars. (H/T to Justin Alicea.)

Hamill, Fisher told of sequel trilogy during the summer

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mark Hamill reveals that he and Carrie Fisher were told about the plans for Star Wars VII, VIII, and IX last summer. (At Celebration, perhaps?)

So when he said, “We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX,” I was just gobsmacked. “What? Are you nuts?!” [Laughs] I can see both sides of it. Because in a way, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end and we all lived happily ever after and that’s the way it should be — and it’s great that people have fond memories, if they do have fond memories. But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material.

Well, you can’t say they haven’t had practice keeping secrets!

Carrie’s reaction to the news breaking has so far been contained to, um, her dog. Harrison Ford is, I expect, looking into trips to Antarctica.

Unlearn what you have learned: Will the Expanded Universe survive new Star Wars movies? Should it?

I’m not going to be the first person to say this, and I certainly won’t be the last: Don’t expect the sequel trilogy to follow the existing Expanded Universe. We know that George Lucas has done story treatments for these films that he’s handing over to Kathleen Kennedy and Disney’s LFL, and Lucas’s take on the EU has been, for most of its existence, that they’re an alternate universe. He has been a distant and uncaring god, at least as far as post-Return of the Jedi is concerned. He has used things from the EU occasionally, but I wouldn’t expect straight adaptations of any of the existing books or comics – at least not as actual episodes.

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Roundup: No, it wasn’t a wish your heart made, Disney really did buy Lucasfilm yesterday

Now that the dust is settled a little from yesterday’s bombshell, we can all take a deep breath and… Continue to freak out about how there are going to be more Star Wars movies. Um.

A good place to start would be Slashfilm’s roundup of yesterday’s conference call with Russ Fischer. It addresses and expands (and yes, in some cases, speculates) on some of those lingering questions you may have on Indiana Jones, Episode VII, Industrial Light & Magic and more.

One thing I haven’t seen widely reported – though I may very well have missed it in the conference call – is Bleeding Cool’s report that Fox retains the distribution rights to the existing films.

One take I found rather interesting – if a bit paranoid – is from The Daily Intel’s Kevin Roose. He speculates that the deal is a financial dud and that Disney is getting Lucasfilm “for a steal.” I doubt this is the last we’ll hear on the financial side of this – and it’s clearly written from the perspective of a Star Wars cynic – but it’s something to keep in mind, at least. In another corner of New York Magazine, Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan and Margaret Lyons have 7 questions about Episode VII.

But overall, I think the reaction has been fairly positive, as Disney is able and – apparently – willing to let fresh eyes take on the franchise

Of course, there’s speculation on the new trilogy everywhere. ThinkProgress’ Alyssa Rosenberg weighs in on how Disney could make Episode VII awesome with 5 ideas plucked from the pages of the Expanded Universe, while Forbes’ Alex Knapp has three options and AMOG’s Keith Veronese has five. (IGN even pulled one up from their archives.) I’m sure we’re going to be seeing everyone and their vat-grown clone throw their favorite book/comic/Boba fetish into the hat for the foreseeable future. We talked a bit about this on Tosche Station last night, but you’ll just have to wait on that one!

Outside of the news sites, we’re seeing lots from the fans – and pros! – on this as well. Author Jason Fry took to Tumblr, as did Bria and Jay. Fansite proprietors at Geek My Life, NJOE and Knights Archive. And, of course, SF/F godfather John Scalzi had some thoughts as well.

What will Disney buying Lucasfilm mean for the Star Wars Expanded Universe publishers?

What will happen to the Expanded Universe? Well, it’s too soon to tell, honestly, but a sequel trilogy could certainly mean upheaval in the galaxy far, far away – and the post-Return of the Jedi continuity that’s been in the works for the past several decades. My bare bones advice? It’s time to start hardening yourself to a more fluid concept of continuity and canon. (You might also want to check out IGN’s Joey Esposito’s great post on the 007 approach to continuity.) But it is far, far too soon to speculate about what new Star Wars movies will bring to the party when we don’t know anything about them aside from their basic existence. (Yes, I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on all that later, but one thing at a time!)

One place we can speculate on is who’s going to handling that future in publishing. We’ve seen no indication that Disney is going to shake up the way Lucasfilm works, so we can assume that Lucasbooks will remain the guiding hand. But what of the licensees themselves? They all have contracts, so things will stay as they are for now. But once those contracts are up?

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