March 12, 2016
'Star Wars': 'Episode VIII' Information And Set Photos Released, Disney Plans More Films After 2020, And Darth Jar Jar Binks Confirmed?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is slowly disappearing from theaters and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is almost here, but the next chapter in the seven-episode saga thus far will not be hitting theaters until December 2017. Star Wars: Episode VIII, besides picking up where Episode VII left off, has very little plot information just yet. Episode VIII does, however, have new information that is coupled with set photos, according to Sun. The photos are of a Star Wars: Episode VIII set that is in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The old-stone building in the photos (which can be seen here), outfitted with ports that could be R2-D2 ready, normally houses Game of Thrones scenes. There are also a few photos that show a covered craft that could potentially be an X-Wing fighter or a similar ship

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!

Star Wars Episode VII X-Wing Fighters
Image via Star Wars: The Force Awakens| Courtesy Of Lucasfilm/Disney|Cropped and Resized

If sets that could eventually be scenes from one of the next Star Wars films were not exciting enough for fans, there's also information on an original trilogy character who is said to be returning for Episode VIII. Lando Calrissian is said to be returning for Star Wars: Episode VIII. Sun says that the set in Dubrovnik is the setting where Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will go to seek out his old rebel colleague from the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but no other information about that aspect of Episode VIII's plot has surfaced.

It is not as surprising as some might think. Cinema Blend reported last May that Lando Calrissian's return was not a matter of "if" but "when." Star Wars: the Force Awakens writer Lawrence Kasdan, who also was involved in penning Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, explained Calrissian's possible future appearance.

"Right now, there's no Lando Calrissian in this movie. But Lando I don't think is finished in any way, shape, or form."
Even if Lando doesn't end up showing up in Star Wars: Episode VIII, there is always the Han Solo film, and the several other films that Disney is interested in making under the Star Wars banner. According to Metro, the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has made Disney executives rethink their current plans for the new universe they've created. A source that spoke to Metro goes on to say that it could include more than just the episodic Star Wars films of yesteryear, but also back stories.
"So many characters' back-stories and futures can now be brought to life. When these ideas came from George Lucas 40 years ago, technology was lagging behind. Now they can be turned around in a year."
The current estimate of Star Wars-related films beyond Episode XI is between five and 10. So, who could be covered in this extended Star Wars universe of back stories? Well, up-and-coming director A.J. Edwards explained during a Reddit AMA that he was in talks to direct a movie about a certain Jedi Master that met a tragic end in Star Wars: Episode III. "Talking about it[, not able to say a lot yet. It will focus on Mace Windu." Edward explained last year.

Mace Windu in Star Wars Episode III
Image Via Star Wars Revenge of the Sith| Courtesy Of Lucasfilm|Cropped and Resized

Speaking of prequel trilogy characters, there is one rumor that has a lot of light shed on it recently, whether Star Wars really cared about it or not. George Lucas was purportedly looking to make Jar Jar Binks the hidden Sith of the prequel trilogy, and Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best revealed that it was certainly seeming to be the direction at one point, according to the Independent.

"What I can say about it is – and I kinda said this on Twitter –there's a lot about it that's true," Best hinted. "There are some things that are not true. Could Jar Jar have evolved into that? I think the answer is yes. Because of the backlash, and rightfully so, Lucasfilm backed off from Jar Jar a lot. But a lot of the influence I put into the character mirrored a lot of what was already in the Star Wars universe."

Despite Best's objections, a Darth Jar Jar Binks seems to have been the case at one point. He even went on to reveal the details on a deleted Star Wars scene that had Chancellor Palpatine confiding in Jar Jar Binks.

"It was a very dark, very personal, very quiet scene, but for some reason, Palpatine decided to confide in Jar Jar that pretty much he was going to wreak havoc."
Sadly, for Jar Jar Binks fans (if there are any), it is unlikely that Disney would risk their Star Wars cash cow franchise on a "Supreme Lord Snoke is Jar Jar Binks" reveal, or worse, a Jar Jar Binks back story film.

[Image Via Public Domain|Wikimedia Commons| Resized]