Disney Confirms <i>Star Wars</i> Spinoffs

Following more than two months of unconfirmed reports, Disney has announced it's developing a series of standalone Star Wars films separate from the new trilogy. The news arrived Tuesday even as a rumor circulated that the studio is considering a solo feature starring Yoda.

Speaking with CNBC, Disney CEO Robert Iger confirmed "that, in fact, we are working a few standalone films [...] derived from great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga." As reported in November, screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand, Sherlock Holmes) are working on the spinoffs while consulting with director J.J. Abrams on Episode VII.

Iger also mentioned a more specific time frame for the new films, which will be released "roughly over a six-year period" beginning in 2015 with the debut of Episode VII. CNBC later reiterated that window is 2015 to 2021, which underscores that the studio is planning long-term for its $4.05 billion investment.

Of course, that agenda doesn't only involve movies: As we reported last month, Disney subsidiary ABC is eager to talk with Lucasfilm about a live-action television series, raising hopes the long-discussed Star Wars: Underworld -- previously deemed to expensive, at about $5 million per episode -- could be resurrected. Set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the drama is believed to focus on a bounty hunter and the rivalries between crime families on Coruscant.

Update (11:45 a.m.): Entertainment Weekly reports the first two standalone films will focus on Boba Fett and a young Han Solo.

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