Disney CEO Bob Iger said today that the Hollywood giant plans on making a series of new spin-off films based on existing "Star Wars" characters.
These new films would be in addition to the forthcoming "Episode VII" that is slated for a possible 2015 release (and which will be directed by "Star Trek" director J.J. Abrams), and two subsequent full "Star Wars" sequels.
Iger revealed the news in an interview on CNBC today (see video below), explaining that the spin-off films will be produced alongside the full "Star Wars" sequels. He would not say which characters will be featured in the stand-alone movies, but one can speculate that Yoda would be an obvious choice. Other good choices would be Han Solo or Princess Leia. Disney and LucasFilm could even decide to give Luke Skywalker his own film, although one could argue that that's already been done. And, of course, there are dozens of other compelling characters in the "Star Wars" universe.
"We still plan to make 'Star Wars' [episodes] seven, eight, and nine roughly over a six-year period of time starting in 2015," Iger said, "but there are going to be a few other films released in that period of time too."
Iger also said that news of the spin-off films would be big for "Star Wars" fans because there will be more films for them to enjoy.
Disney bought LucasFilm for $4.05 billion in late October, and immediately confirmed that it would make new "Star Wars" films, the first of which was said to be released in 2015, though new LucasFilm boss Kathleen Kennedy has said she isn't sure that date is realistic. Last month, Disney and LucasFilm confirmed that J.J. Abrams had agreed to direct the next "Star Wars" film, but Iger did not address who would make the spin-offs. He did say, however, that Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote "The Empire Strikes Back") and producer Simon Kinberg would be "working on" the new movies.