'Stand-alone' Star Wars films planned

 
Yoda statue outside Lucasfilm's San Francisco offices It is rumoured the first stand-alone film will focus on Jedi master Yoda

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Films built around existing characters from the Star Wars universe are being developed alongside the new trilogy of films, the Disney studio has revealed.

"We are working on a few stand-alone films... derived from great Star Wars characters," Disney CEO Bob Iger told the CNBC channel on Tuesday.

The films, written by Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg, will be released between 2015 and 2021, he continued.

The seventh Star Wars film, directed by JJ Abrams, is due out in 2015.

Disney bought George Lucas's Lucasfilm company for $4.05 billion (£2.58 billion) last year, saying it was committed to at least three new films.

The first of these, Star Wars: Episode VII, will be scripted by Michael Arndt, the Oscar-winning writer of Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine.

Mr Iger outlined the studio's plans with CNBC ahead of a call with analysts to discuss the Disney company's latest financial results.

Despite seeing a slight dip in its quarterly earnings, the CEO said the studio was "confident about the year ahead, as well as our ability to create continued long-term growth".

While speaking to CNBC, Mr Iger admitted there had been "speculation" about "some stand-alone films" that would not form "part of the overall saga".

"We still plan to make Star Wars 7, 8 and 9 roughly over a six-year period of time starting in 2015," he went on.

"But there are going to be a few other films released in that period of time too."

Kasdan has a long association with Lucasfilm, having worked on the scripts of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi - the second and third instalments of the first Star Wars trilogy.

Kinberg's own screenwriting credits include comic book sequel X-Men: The Last Stand, Mr & Mrs Smith and Guy Ritchie's 2009 Sherlock Holmes film.

Tuesday's announcement was preceded by a report on the Ain't It Cool News site that the first stand-alone film would focus on the diminutive Jedi master Yoda.

"Word is Yoda is first," wrote website founder Harry Knowles in a posting that also mentioned such other Star Wars staples as bounty hunter Boba Fett and slug-like gangster Jabba the Hutt.

 

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