By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 19, 2013 at 11:44AM
Last week's news that Harrison Ford could be returning to reprise the role of Han Solo in J.J Abrams' "Star Wars Episode VII" was, if true, big news for fans of the franchise. It means that there'll be clear continuity between the classic films and the new ones, and means that there'll be a chance for them to see arguably the most beloved character in the franchise on the big screen, played by the man who embodied him, before the mooted Solo-centric prequel.
But of course, it led to a certain amount of speculation about what it means for the other main trio from the original films. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, while fairly busy, haven't exactly been regular presences on the big screen in recent years; the former's last major on-screen presence was as 'Cocknocker' in Kevin Smith's "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back," Fisher's was in horror film "Sorority Row." But Ford's rumored signing certainly seems to pave the way to their return, and if the "Star Wars" whispers of the day are to be believed, that is indeed the case.
When you finally decipher a grumpy, semi-coherent report from Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman, it reveals that the veteran gossip-monger was told some time ago that Ford, Fisher and Hamill would all be returning for the new films. What's more, he claims to have further plot details on the coming movies, saying that their stories will center around the children of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo.
Many had assumed that this would be the case, given that it's the way that much of the extended universe literature unfolds. In the books and comics, Luke has a son, Ben, with smuggler Mara Jade, a former apprentice of the Emperor, while Han and Leia have three children; Jacen Solo, a powerful Jedi, Luke's apprentice, who goes over to the dark side, Jaina Solo, his twin, who also becomes a Jedi, and eventually kills her brother, and Anakin Solo, who Chewbacca gives up his life to save, but who also dies in the novel "Star by Star."
All that said, don't expect things to play out exactly this way; Lawrence Kasdan has already indicated that the new films won't be following the established plots (thank god...), so it's possible that we could be seeing very different versions of these characters, or that the children of Luke, Leia and Han will be entirely different characters altogether. It does all make sense, given other reports that George Lucas met with Hamill and Fisher, and that the plot would revolve around an older Luke.
As has been the case for a while, there's been no official word out of the Disney/J.J. Abrams camp on the rumors, and it's probably unlikely that there will be for a while. So do you hope that the report is correct, and are you pleased that Luke & Leia will be returning to the screen with their offspring? Or were you hoping for a clean start with "Episode VII"? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.