Lucasfilm and Disney have just confirmed that along with the new trilogy of Star Wars films, a batch of standalone movies are also planned.

Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger confirmed the news and reveals that the standalone movies will be independent from the main series and will instead focus on specific characters in the Star Wars universe.

“There has been speculation about some stand-alone films that are in development,” Iger tells CNBC.

I can confirm to you today that, in fact, we are working on a few stand-alone films. Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are both working on films derived from great ‘Star Wars’ characters that are not part of the overall saga. We still plan to make Episodes 7, 8, and 9, roughly over a six-year period of time, starting in 2015.

There are going to be a few other films released in that time, too.”

Star Wars

Lucasfilm has also issued the following official statements concerning the standalone films:

The Star Wars cinematic galaxy is about to experience a Big Bang. Lucasfilm is officially announcing new spinoff films that will expand the mythos and depths of the Star Wars universe in previously unexplored ways.

One of the standalone films will be written by Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and co-writer of Return of the Jedi while the other will be penned by Simon Kinberg, writer of Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

The movies will be separate from the upcoming Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, on which Kasdan and Kinberg are also consulting, and are expected to be released sometime after Episode VII. Each standalone film will focus on a specific character, and two spinoff films are currently confirmed.

In a call to investors, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, revealed while the original focus was on the highly-anticipated sequel trilogy, the idea of spinoff films was bandied about early and the additional films are now becoming a reality.

We are in development of a few standalone films,” he said, “that are not part of the Star Wars saga…there are now creative entities working on developing scripts for what would be those standalone films.”

Yoda

As Iger put it, “a few other films” will come out during the six-year period that will see the new trilogy launched, so we may very well see three standalone films each focused on the early life of some of the most legendary and iconic characters of the franchise.

Interestingly enough, the idea of spinoff films was “bandied about” (as Iger put it) early on in the development of the new trilogy–something that could have easily died out to never see the light of day. Luckily, both Disney and Lucasfilm agreed that the spinoff movies would bring new depth to the franchise, and give audiences and fans the chance to delve farther into the sci-fi universe.

There have been rumors of a possible “Adventures of Yoda” film that focuses primarily on the Jedi Master’s adventures and early life, but that hasn’t been confirmed. It will be interesting to see which characters get their own films and what actors are chosen to portray them, but this news opens up a whole galaxy of opportunities with near-infinite scenarios.

Boba Fett

“Boba Fett…Boba Fett? Where?”

The Star Wars franchise is resplendent with a dazzling variety of iconic characters, legendary battles, ships and planets to choose from. Die-hard fans of the franchise are no-doubt rejoicing on the prospect of seeing their favorite smuggler and wookie sidekick careen across the stars, and speculation will be revving in overdrive with a smattering of possible movies and adventures to play out.

There’s also a veritable galaxy of elements to the Star Wars universe: a sizable library of video games, books, graphic novels, and comics take fans across the stars and expand upon the original trilogy to a massive degree. Whether the new standalone films will focus on original trilogy characters (those from Episodes IV-VI) or not hasn’t been confirmed, but there certainly is an incredible amount of characters that flesh out the sci-fi franchise.

It’s exciting to see this officially confirmed, as I have personally always wanted to see standalone movies in the Star Wars universe that focus primarily on Han Solo’s early smuggling adventures, or even Boba Fett’s rise to infamy as one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy.

Han Solo

Millions of fans worldwide can also rejoice with the recent news from Entertainment Weekly that reveals that Disney and Lucasfilm have confirmed that two of the films will focus on the world’s most popular bounty hunter Boba Fett and a young Han Solo.

“The Han Solo story would take place in the time period between Revenge of the Sith and the first Star Wars (now known as A New Hope), so although it’s possible Harrison Ford could appear as a framing device, the movie would require a new actor for the lead — one presumably much younger than even the 35-year-old Ford when he appeared in the 1977 original.”

“The Boba Fett film would take place either between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, or between Empire and Jedi, where the bounty hunter was last seen plunging unceremoniously into a sarlacc pit. Exactly who would play him isn’t much of a complication – in the original trilogy, he never took off his helmet.

And in the prequels, we learned he was the son of the original stormtrooper clone, played by Temuera Morrison, who’s still the right age for the part if his services were required.”

These updates bring a huge amount of anticipation to the upcoming spin-off films, and also affords an opportunity to flesh out some of the franchise’s most iconic faces with official backstories and other events that have helped shaped their lives.

This double offering of news is something that will keep forums full of posts and fans debating the merits of which characters deserve their own films, and it has definitely sparked excitement to just about every fan of the franchise across the world.

With Star Wars, George Lucas has created a legacy that has spanned decades and has been an integral part in pop culture even to this day. This news not only brings the chance to get a closer look at the universe on the big screen, but also to add to the sci-fi sensation in a way that hasn’t ever been done before to bring new meaning to the characters from long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Via ComingSoon, Entertainment Weekly