Turns out that speculation was moot over whether cast members from the original Star Wars movies would return for a new trilogy: George Lucas says Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill had all essentially agreed to return before Disney bought Lucasfilm last fall.
"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison – or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation," Lucas said in a lengthy BloombergBusinessweek examination of how his $4.05 billion deal with Disney came together. He continued, "Maybe I'm not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them."
He added, "I won't say whether the negotiations were successful or not."
Some of them must have been: Fisher confirmed earlier this week that she would return as an "elderly" Princess Leia in Episode VII, which J.J. Abrams will direct. Ford and Hamill have each said they would be interested in reprising Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, respectively.
Disney plans three films that continue the main Star Wars narrative arc, and CEO Robert Iger has said the company also plans spin-off movies that would focus on other characters outside the main storyline.