Star Wars fans are jumping into hyperspace searching the web for the latest rumors and plot details for the next Star Wars film. It's been 8 years since we saw the young Anakin Skywalker make his final transformation into the evil Dark Lord, Darth Vader. But that was the ending of the first (if we are going by the stories' timeline) trilogy.

It's been almost 30 years since we've seen Luke, Han, Lea and Chewie on the big screen, destroying the Death Star for a second time, with the help of Lando Calrissian and everyone's favorite plush toys, The Ewoks.

So where do we go from here? Take a look inside to find out what we know so far and some thoughts on what I think may happen.

The Story So Far:

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At the end of 'Return of The Jedi' we all have our happy ending. Luke saved his father, Anakin, by bringing him back from the Dark Side, right before his death and the destruction of the second Death Star.. Han knows Leia and Luke are siblings, Leia loves Han, the Rebels have defeated the Empire. The Emperor (Dark Sidious) is thrown to his death (my thoughts on that later), Ewoks are dancing and we see the 'ghosts' of Anakin, Yoda and Ben. A very nice resolution for the middle trilogy.


The Thrawn Trilogy:

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I remember reading years ago, that George Lucas only backed one set of books to be (almost) 'cannon' in his universe. It was the Thrawn Trilogy, written by Hugo Award Winning Novelist, Timothy Zahn. The books included; Heir To The Empire, Dark Force Rising & The Last Command. These were published between 1991 and 1993 by Bantam Books. A must-read for anyone who wants to continue the Star Wars saga.

The books begin 5 years after 'Jedi' and introduces us to some major 'expanded universe' characters, that I am hoping will make it to the big screen in the new trilogy.

It sets up the following, which for me should be considered 'cannon.' Han & Leia are married and expecting twins. Leia, with Luke's help, learns to get 'in touch with her feelings' and becomes a very powerful Jedi. By now, Luke is a Jedi Master and is seeking out and training new Jedi's.We are also introduced to Mara Jade (a fan favorite from the novels) who starts out on the hunt to kill Luke, but in the end falls in love, marries and give birth to their son, Ben Skywalker. Then there is Grand Admiral Trawn, who ends up being the new 'big-bad' in the book series.


Predictions for Episode 7:

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Here is where we hit a snag for Episode 7. Because in real-time, it's been 30+ years for our main trio of actors, there is no way they can play the same roles 5 years after 'Jedi.'I don't think fans will buy into having the roles recast either. Just my opinion, but unlike J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot, where we spring board off into a new time line and beginning  where he could hire new actors, Star Wars will be the next chapter, so recasting 'shouldn't' be an option.

So, let's put our actors & characters in the time line that will reflect the passing of the years. I predict 30-35 years after 'Jedi' is when Chapter 7 will pick up. This also gives us time to give exposition and set up this new chapter in the opening scroll. The set up: The Solo Twins are in late 20's - early 30's and Ben Skywalker is early 20's. This will be your new trio of characters, along with Chewbacca, C-3PO & R2-D2. At one point, Lucas had said that the entire 9 movie saga would be seen through 'the eyes of the droids,' since they don't age.

Star Wars has, to me, always been like greek mythology, it is a giant circle. Good guy turns bad, battles a group of good people, finds redemption, becomes good again and then the cycle repeats. With that said, I predict one of the Solo twins to turn to the dark side at some point. Maybe a tragic death of Han or Leia to start the downward spiral. Look for Han and Leia to take up supporting character roles with  Luke being more in the forefront of Episode 7, but falling to a supporting character by Episode 8. Remember, Star Wars was originally going to be titled 'The Adventures of The Starkiller.' Episode 7 will be a bit 'brighter' and full of a lot of set ups that will get paid off in Episode 8 & 9. Episode 8, will be darker in feel and then all will be resolved (reset cycle) in Episode 9.


The Director: J.J. Abrams

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As for Director J.J. Abrams, I think he will bring a fresh perspective and feel to the project. He still will be working close with Lucas Films and Disney, but I don't see the next 3 chapters of the Star Wars saga to be 'campy.' Abrams is a smart guy and did a fabulous job in the Star Trek reboot. He revived that franchise and made it more mass appeal. Unlike 'Menace,' 'Clones' & 'Sith,' I think the worlds and environments that we will see in Abrams' version will not look so "CGI.' That was one of my biggest complaints of Episodes 1,2 & 3. I couldn't buy into the computer animated worlds.

I'll also be interested to see where Greg Grunberg will fit into this universe. If you're not aware, Abrams puts Grunberg in all of his projects, even if for a brief moment on camera or voice over. Grunberg was last heard as James Kirk's Stepdad in the Star Trek reboot.

I don't suspect any cameos from Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor), Anikan (Hayden Christensen) Yoda (Frank Oz) or Jar-Jar. But, remember when Senator Palpatine told Anakin that there was one Sith Lord who knew how to bring back a person from the dead? Well, my money is on a return of Dark Sidious.

It wouldn't be a Star Wars trilogy without at least one trip back to Tatooine or maybe Luke is training Jedis on Degobah or at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.

Needless to say, Star Wars has a very big universe to play in and lots of lore that has been written. Whether Abrams pulls stuff from the Thrawn Trilogy or not, I am pretty sure that our favorite galaxy 'far, far way' is in very good hands.

If you have never seen the creative stuff that has been done by Robot Chicken in regards to Star Wars, check this out.