I can't wait for the book about the Disney/Lucasfilm deal because I want to know how they hell they kept this secret. When the deal was announced it hit like an atom bomb; there had been no leaks, no speculation, no sense at all that something was up. Looking back - the Cars/Star Wars crossover, for instance - you can see the signs. But in the moment it was a stunner.
It's doubly a stunner when you realize that George Lucas has been talking a new trilogy since this past summer. Mark Hamill spoke with EW and explained that he and his cinema sister, Carrie Fisher, had lunch with Lucas this summer.
[L]ast August, he asked Carrie and I to have lunch with him and we did. I thought he was going to talk about either his retirement or the Star Wars TV series that I’ve heard about—which I don’t think we were going to be involved in anyway, because that takes place between the prequels and the ones we were in and, if Luke were in them, he’d be anywhere from a toddler to a teenager so they’d get an age-appropriate actor—or the 3-D releases. So when he said, “We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX,” I was just gobsmacked. “What? Are you nuts?!” [laughs] I can see both sides of it. Because in a way, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end and we all lived happily ever after and that’s the way it should be—and it’s great that people have fond memories, if they do have fond memories. But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material. It’s one of those things: people either just don’t care for it or are passionate about it. I guess that defines what cult movies are all about. We’ll see.
Hamill explains that Lucas didn't tell the two anything solid - not even whether or not he was hoping to have them reprise their roles.
[H]e was just talking about writers and the fact that he wouldn’t be directing. I guess he wanted us to know before everybody else knew. He said, “Now you can’t tell anybody!” [laughs] Even now I’m nervous about saying anything. I just don’t know!
Talking about writers? Who could that be? There's a lot of speculation that 1952, the top secret Disney project that's teaming Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof, is actually Episode VII. I can't believe it for the simple reason that I believe Disney would have announced the creative team when they announced the movie.
But the fact that Lucas was talking about the new trilogy in August (when he says 'last August,' does he mean 2011 or 2012? I'm not quite certain) indicates that plenty of pre-production time has passed secretly. Which, again, makes the surprise announcement all the more impressive: people have been working on Star Wars Episode VII at least since August and nobody heard a peep.