-and if you haven't heard already, you just did :)
• Will George Lucas be involved in any capacity?
The short answer is “yes,” or at least that he has been involved. Lucas has consulted on the development of Episode VII so far, but he is not spearheading that film. On the conference call, it was said that “it’s his intent to retire,” from which we can extrapolate that someone else will write and (whew!) direct the new film(s). As to the continuing involvement of Lucas in the new film, we have to wait and see. The suggestion is that his involvement will be fairly light.
• Who is Kathleen Kennedy, and what has she ever done?
Oh, you know, just someone who has been a producer on small films, such as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, and most of Steven Spielberg’s big-screen efforts in the past couple decades. (And many of his small-screen ones.) Kennedy was a principal of the Kennedy/Marshall Company (with her husband, producer Frank Marshall) through which she worked on many Spielberg productions as well as films such as the first three Bourne movies. Earlier this year, she was named as Co-Chair of LucasFilm and set up to be the ultimate successor to George Lucas at the company he founded. With this deal, that movement will now take place.
• Will the new movies have the classic Fox Fanfare?
They will not. LucasFilm and Fox have long had a sort of picture-to-picture relationship, with Fox most recently acting only as distributor for the Star Wars films, while Lucas funded them himself. Any new film may carry a Fox logo (in the same way that The Avengers had Paramount branding) but the days of live-action Star Wars features opening with the Fox fanfare are done. That said, how this deal will affect the 3D re-release of the existing Star Wars films is unknown.
• How far into development is Episode VII?
What was specifically stated in the conference call with Disney this afternoon is “what we’re buying… is a pretty extensive & detailed treatment for the next three movies.” Lucas says “I have story treatments for [Star Wars] seven, eight, and nine, and and a bunch of other movies, and obviously we have hundreds of books and comics.”
Development of Episode VII is well along, though we can’t say precisely what has been done. We can speculate a lot, and guess that Kennedy will want to start hiring talent to take the film through the next stages of development very quickly, but I’ll refrain from that here. And, in fact, there could already be people on board and under death-threat NDAs. Recall that Warner Bros. had a Justice League script brewing for a year that went unreported until the studio was ready for word to get out.
• How far into the future will Episode VII be and what might it be about?
This is the question of questions, isn’t it? Just because this film will take place after Return of the Jedi doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll feature the same characters. Star Wars games and novels have written extensively about the period after the ending of Jedi, dealing with the offspring of Han and Leia, Luke’s rebuilding of the Jedis, finding a love interest, and any number of other subjects. Some properties have even gone thousands of years into the future.
However, popular discussion has always assumed these films would take place a few decades later to continue the overall story. The universe is finally recovering from the rule of the Empire, the Jedi have returned, and the main characters have passed along what they learned. Luke is now more like Obi-Wan, Han is now more of a leader, etc. And to truly complete the circle of the prequels, the droids would have to be in it. Don’t forget, most of the principal actors are still alive, too, so never say never on them reprising the roles. Also, it’s important to remember that the rise and fall of Darth Vader was the throughline for Episodes I-VI, so the story has to feature some of that.
...Read more on what slashfilm posted at this link!