So, less than 48 hours in since the announcement that new Star Wars films were on the horizon, and there's already been loads of speculation as to when the sequel trilogy will take place, and which existing characters will appear in them.
For some, it's clear that the films should follow the blueprint laid out in the expanded universe (EU) of novels/comics/stories set in the period following Return of the Jedi. I think the odds of the plots for the sequel trilogy coming out of existing material to be next to nil, and frankly I think that's the correct approach. The idea of future Star Wars films being a retread of existing material just doesn't seem like a possibility to me. Part of the excitement is not knowing exactly what direction the stories might take, and so adapting existing stories, even with changes, would prove to be anticlimactic.
As for whether we'll see Han, Luke, and Leia? If I had my way, these new films would be set far enough in the future so as to remove the necessity of the original cast returning, with the one exception. I can envision a cameo from a wise, old Luke Skywalker. But beyond that, I'll tell you who I'm open to seeing in the sequel trilogy.
The Droids. Yep. George often spoke of C-3PO and R2-D2 as being the connecting threads present throughout the nine (or twelve, depending on the interview) film run of the Star Wars saga. It makes perfect sense, regardless of the timeline of the films. I also think there's room for Chewbacca to show up in some way, shape or form, but I'd rather not see characters from the original trilogy forced in just to satisfy fan interest (this means you, Boba Fett). I'd much rather have new, fresh stories based primarily around new characters who may or may not be descendants of the characters we know.
But at the end of the day, it's anyone's guess. Perhaps Han Solo and Leia Organa will be integral to the plot. Who knows. Something got Carrie Fisher on a Jenny Craig-kick. Maybe it was the thought of having to step back into the metal bikini.
Let me know where you think things are headed. We'll check back in a few years to see who was right.