The Guardian reports today on an as-yet-unconfirmed leak of plot details about the story of Star Wars: Episode VII, in production in England and Abu Dhabi right now:
A US film blog has posted what it claims are essential plot details from the upcoming new Star Wars film, Episode VII.
Badass Digest claims JJ Abrams’ movie focuses on the hunt for Luke Skywalker after an opening scene in which the ageing Jedi Knight’s severed hand, complete with lightsaber, tumbles through space and is found on a desert planet by two young adventurers. The pair, played by Britain’s Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, recognise the weapon as a Jedi weapon and set out to return it to its rightful owner.
According to the site: “Their quest takes them off world, and they meet up with Han Solo and Chewbacca, who aren’t flying around in the Millennium Falcon anymore … Han and Chewie recognise the lightsaber as Luke’s, and they say they haven’t seen their friend in thirty years, since the events of Return of the Jedi.
“So begins a quest to find the missing Jedi Master. Meanwhile, on an ice planet, nefarious forces are building a super weapon, one capable of destroying not planets but entire solar systems … “
As with any movie rumor, take it with a big grain of salt. That said, the fact that Disney has “so far refused to confirm or deny the rumoured plot details” suggests to me that there might be some truth to them. The story is also different enough from what I imagined in my head to ring true, in a way. Abrams & co. would obviously be looking to subvert fan expectations as much as possible–both in an attempt to keep superfans guessing and also to stray deliberately from the childish pap that was the prequels.
Another reason I feel like this rumor might be accurate is its content. While Abrams and Disney have repeatedly confirmed that the Star Wars sequels will involve new stories not taken from the extant Expanded Universe, that doesn’t mean they haven’t cannibalized different story elements from some of the better EU books.
While Luke apparently disappearing after Return of the Jedi is entirely new, the involvement of his severed hand echoes part of the plot of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, including the novels Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. The Thrawn Trilogy set the tone for the EU and, in many fans’ minds, has yet to be eclipsed in terms of quality as far as Star Wars sequels go, canonical or not. You can read a summary of the plot on Wikipedia.
Without spoiling the story too much, I will say that the Thrawn Trilogy involves a Jedi Master, Luke’s severed hand, and clones. It’s that last part–the idea of cloning–that really intrigues me here. Are we going to see a Luke clone? What other significance could Luke’s severed hand possible have?
Luke’s hand, cut off by Darth Vader on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back, also featured in Shadows of the Empire, the bridge novel between Empire and Jedi.
Either way, if this is true, I like where it’s going. Not just because of the possible Thrawn connection, but because the idea of Luke disappearing after the events of Return of the Jedi is intriguing, and certainly serves to address worries that the filmmakers might be hanging the plot too heavily on Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher. The Guardian goes on:
Badass Digest’s report would appear to contradict the widely held assumption that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, returning to the classic roles of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo from the original trilogy which hit cinemas between 1977 and 1983, will be the obvious leads in Episode VII. Ridley and Boyega are part of a swathe of actors – also including Girls’ Adam Driver and Ingmar Bergman regular Max von Sydow – who were confirmed by studio Disney in May.
This is the first really exciting news I’ve heard since production started.