So … back in October we learned that George Lucas was selling the Star Wars franchise to Disney for a cool $4 billion bucks. Almost immediately after that news was reported, we learned that plans are in the works to start production on a new trilogy of films that will reportedly pick up where the last 2 trilogies left off. Today we are hearing that director Zack Synder has been approached to begin work on an entirely new film that will take place within the Star Wars universe but will NOT be included in the new trilogy … that is, apparently, while one set of new films is being developed on one hand, Disney is developing an entirely other Star Wars film as well. Huh.
Back in November, the Los Angeles Times reported that Man of Steel and 300 director Zack Snyder said he had no interest in directing the hotly anticipated seventh Star Wars film. But Vulture has learned that while this may be specifically true — he won’t be doing Episode VII — it was a bit of misdirection: He is in fact developing a Star Wars project for Lucasfilm that is set within the series’ galaxy, though parallel to the next trilogy. It will be an as-yet-untitled Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, with the ronin and katana being replaced by the Force-wielding knights and their iconic lightsabers. It’s not clear just where Snyder’s untitled Jedi film would fall within the Star Wars chronology, but one insider expects it will not be considered part of the “numbered” episodes, but rather a stand-alone film set sometime post–Episode VI events, meaning the next phase of the franchise development is much broader than previously thought … In late October of last year, when Disney CEO Bob Iger first announced the acquisition of Lucasfilm, he’d stated that after Episode VII, “our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.” Our sources also say that Snyder’s would start production after Disney starts on its planned 2015 release of Star Wars: Episode VII, and while no director has yet been set for Episode VII, clearly things are taking shape at Lucasfilm. (A spokesperson for Lucasfilm declined comment) … Vulture takes the accuracy of its reports very seriously. And while a piece published in The Hollywood Reporter this evening quotes Snyder’s rep as saying that the director “is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars,” Vulture stands by its story. This reporter heard through a source very familiar with the situation that Snyder recently flew up to Marin County to meet with Lucasfilm execs about the project. When subsequently reached by Vulture, Snyder’s spokesperson would only repeat that he “is” not currently involved. One should note the possible political ramifications here of our original story break: Snyder’s last Warner Bros. film, Sucker Punch, lost millions for the studio, and execs there could have become distressed at the idea of him getting involved with another studio’s franchise when they have so much at stake with their upcoming Man of Steel and want him available for an immediate sequel.]
Whaaaa? This is crazy! So now, apparently, we have 4 new Star Wars films to look forward to in the coming years? I have to say, I believe this Snyder report 100%. My guess is that Disney plans to stick very rigorously to their plan of releasing a new Star Wars film every “2 to 3 years” and, therefore, have a lot of development plans to put in place now. I can totally understand why the studio would not want this news to get out so early in the process but loose lips are hard to keep zipped in Hollywood. I have to say, I’m still very encouraged by the idea of Disney taking over the Star Wars franchise because I know they’ll take good care of the story and the characters. My fear is that they may flood the market with too much Star Wars and make the franchise feel less … special. It’s too early to tell, we’ll just have to wait. At this point, I’m excited … and not worried … much.