Lawrence Kasdan and Frank Oz Talk About <i>Star Wars</i> Spinoffs

Now that Disney has confirmed it's developing a series of standalone Star Wars movies to be released separately from the new trilogy -- the first two are thought to center on Boba Fett and a young Han Solo -- Lawrence Kasdan is now free to acknowledge his return to the franchise. But don't expect the screenwriter, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, to be too forthcoming about the spinoffs, which he's collaborating on with Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes, X-Men: Days of Future Past).

While he wouldn't confirm which existing characters will star in the standalone projects, Kasdan told Hero Complex he doesn't plan to fall back on his previous work with George Lucas, or the extended Star Wars universe, in his approach to the script.

“I’m trying to start fresh,” he said. “There are certain pleasures that we think the saga can bring to people that they’ve been missing, and we’re hoping to bring them that, and at the same time, have them feel that it’s all new.”

And Kasdan seems to have a sense of what the second trilogy lacked, explaining,“The first three, Star Wars, Empire and Return of the Jedi, are all sort of more about people than the ones that followed. Empire appeals to people, I think, because it’s the second act of a three-act play, and everything sort of goes to hell during the movie. And when you leave, everyone is in trouble, and that is the best part of the story to write. And people responded to it. Irvin Kershner was a completely different kind of director than George, so the movie’s much darker than the first Star Wars. It’s more edgy.”

Hero Complex also spoke with original Yoda voice actor and puppeteer Frank Oz, who said he'd "absolutely" be interested in returning to play the Jedi Master in a rumored solo film, if the story is right. He hasn't heard anything from Lucasfilm or Disney, but Oz still has a connection to the character. “He’s in my heart,” Oz said. “I know Yoda very deeply.”

Star Wars: Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams from a script by Michael Arndt, is targeted for release in 2015, with the first of the standalone movies to follow.

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