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Talk of standalone Star Wars films wasn't just idle chatter: In addition to a new trilogy beginning with Episode VII, fans can expect at least two spin-off movies that take place outside the main storyline, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said yesterday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
Horn said that Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasden is working with Sherlock Holmes writer Simon Kinberg on scripts for a pair of standalone movies, according to news reports. While MTV reported that Disney would alternate those films with installments from the main trilogy, which will be spaced two years apart starting in 2015, other outlets reported that Horn didn't mention a timeline for the spin-offs, saying only, "We expect to have pictures derived from that universe." It's not clear what the spin-offs will focus on, though there's been speculation that they'll follow bounty hunter Boba Fett, Yoda or a young Han Solo.
Disney took over the Star Wars franchise last fall after purchasing Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. The company recruited J.J. Abrams to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, and there have been reports that original cast members Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) will reprise their roles from the original three films – in fact, George Lucas has said all three had signed on before he sold Lucasfilm.
Abrams said recently that he's "just getting started" on Episode VII, after directing the forthcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness.