While it was previously assumed that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were being contracted to write Episodes VIII and IX of the Star Wars saga, The Hollywood Reporter have learned that Lucasfilm and Disney's plans are actually rather more ambitious.
Kasdan and Kinberg, they say, are under brief to develop "separate projects" that are "not necessarily" parts of " the main Skywalker storyline."
This is interesting in numerous ways. On the one hand, it suggests the overall arc of the next trilogy is still pretty much up in the air. This is despite early indications George Lucas had developed a treatment before selling up, and also later reports that Michael Arndt had fleshed out ideas for a full trilogy.
Now the position seems to be that Arndt's planned storyline covers just the next film.
If this new report is correct, it seems that Lucasfilm don't want to restrict Kasdan and Kinberg's creativity and would rather see what they can come up with before deciding whether or not to slot it into the main nine-part structure.
At the same time, the studio are obviously already looking for "expanded universe" pieces to spin-off. Last time this gave us the animated Clone Wars movie, before that, The Caravan of Courage.*
But do you think we could see a Marvel-like approach with the "main episodes" coming along with the regularity of Avengers pictures, side-projects popping up and tying in as we go?
I'd also be interested to know if the notion of a "main Skywalker storyline" is The Hollywood Reporter's own or if it comes from their informed, knowledgable source. If it's the latter, we could at least take it as some kind of loose indication of where the next film, and its subsequent sequels, would be taking us.
*In Europe, at least. The first Ewok movie may only have played on TV in the US, but we got it in cinemas. Yay!