George Lucas was developing Star Wars: Episode VII for a year before selling Lucasfilm to Disney
As we get closer and closer to STAR WARS: EPISODE VII going into production, many thank the Maker for how much further and further away George Lucas is getting from the Saga. I, for one, feel that Lucas should maintain a vested interest in the series. After all, he did create it. I am fine with him taking a hands off approach to the new trilogy, but we also know he will remain a creative consultant on the new films. So, just how involved is Lucas with STAR WARS: EPISODE VII? Just ask his son, Jett Lucas.
Mashable shared an interview with Lucas' son where he explains that his father had been working on EPISODE VII through IX for a year prior to the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney. Does this mean that Lucas was intending to launch the trilogy himself before the sale became viable? or, was Lucas always intending to hand the new films over to someone younger? The question is an interesting one because Lucas conceived of the original trilogy as well as the prequels. The biggest difference between the films is that he let other writers and directors have input on EMPIRE and JEDI where the prequels were all George.
With J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, Simon Kinberg, and Lawrence Kasdan all working on the new trilogy and standalone films, George Lucas' brilliant outlines can be fleshed out and made much less cumbersome than the prequel films. But, Lucas will still be involved, just not directly:
Asked if Lucas was keeping a watchful eye over what happens next with Star Wars, he replied: “Yeah, as any parent watching their kid going to college would. He’s constantly talking to J.J. [Abrams, director of Episode VII]. Obviously J.J. was handpicked. He [Lucas] is there to guide, whenever, he’ll help where he can. At the same time, he wants to let it go and become its new generation.”
I like Lucas being there but also that he is letting these filmmakers make the final decisions. Lucas never was able to veto himself so the prequels always felt overindulgent. I have faith that these new movies will maintain a better balance.
As for details on STAR WARS: EPISODE VII and beyond, Jett did not reveal much beyond saying that he knows what his father outlined for the stories and that he is looking forward to the "new generation" of characters. Whether that means we are seeing the Solo and Skywalker children or not still remains unknown. We will likely have a longer wait to know what is to come.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VII opens sometime in 2015.