Before we begin, let me say that I will never spoil plot points from the actual movie. I don’t believe in ruining the experience for first-time viewers by revealing story elements which are intended to be witnessed as a film unfolds.
The story’s premise, on the other hand, seems like fair game, as do pictures and details which give a flavour of the film without revealing much more. The rule of thumb is this: if Lucasfilm are unlikely to reveal something in the lead-up to a film’s release, I won’t be revealing it here, either. The Millennium Falcon will be all over promotional material for Episode VII, so I see no harm in running a photo of the set’s construction. And as for what Luke Skywalker has been up to for the last 30 years, that will probably be implied by the trailer and spelled out in the opening crawl.
So if you’re comfortable finding out the possible set-up for Episode VII, read on…
Today Jason at Making Star Wars revealed some details regarding the next Star Wars film and, well, they’re kind of big. In summary, the premise of the film is that “Jedi Hunters” (a la the Inquisitor from Rebels) were still around during the time of the original trilogy and fostered the Empire in the wake of Palpatine’s demise. The Jedi Hunters, together with the Empire, are the threat that our heroes have faced over the last 30 years—as Latino Review revealed, there is no New Republic.
What’s particularly interesting here is that the Inquisitor was almost certainly developed during the early stages of work on Rebels. If the above premise for Episode VII is correct, this means that the Lucas/Arndt story was not thrown out as some people feared and, indeed, these ideas almost certainly date back to Lucas’ own outline.
There have been ongoing rumours that Rebels and Episode VII were closely linked. Well, it all lines up. It seems that Rebels is not just the backstory for Star Wars: A New Hope, nor is it even simply the backstory for the standalone films and tie-ins. Rebels will instead provide insight into the inner workings of the Empire which will then be expanded upon in Episode VII. I would also guess that James Luceno’s Tarkin will offer glimpses of this hitherto unforeseen aspect to the Empire.
Just as The Empire Strikes Back recontextualised the original Star Wars so as to make it the fourth film in an epic saga, Episode VII, together with Rebels (and presumably various tie-in media) will also recontextualise the present Star Wars saga. Think about the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and Episode VII and then think about TV series, standalone films, books, comics, games and more: this is why the expanded universe had to go.
These are exciting times for Star Wars fans. Personally, I’m enjoying every minute.