Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger confirmed that work is currently underway to expand the Star Wars franchise by creating standalone films. He said Episodes VII, VIII and IX would be made over a roughly six-year period starting in 2015, and the stand-alones would be created at the same time.
The official press release said:
The Star Wars cinematic galaxy is about to experience a Big Bang. Lucasfilm is officially announcing new spinoff films that will expand the mythos and depths of the Star Wars universe in previously unexplored ways.
One of the standalone films will be written by Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and co-writer of Return of the Jedi while the other will be penned by Simon Kinberg, writer of Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The movies will be separate from the upcoming Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, on which Kasdan and Kinberg are also consulting, and are expected to be released sometime after Episode VII. Each standalone film will focus on a specific character, and two spinoff films are currently confirmed.
In a call to investors, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, revealed while the original focus was on the highly-anticipated sequel trilogy, the idea of spinoff films was bandied about early and the additional films are now becoming a reality. “We are in development of a few standalone films,” he said, “that are not part of the Star Wars saga…there are now creative entities working on developing scripts for what would be those standalone films.”