Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger has confirmed rumors that the studio is looking at a series of Star Wars films that will see release independent of the new trilogy and that will focus on specific characters from the overall 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."
Iger goes on to say that Kasdan and Kingberg are serving in a consulting capacity on J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII with Michael Arndt supplying the screenplay. Both writers are simultaneously working on new, as of yet unknown, Star Wars films.
The news arrives on the heels of yesterday's rumor that claimed the first such film would follow the adventures of Yoda. While that rumor has not been confirmed, Iger's comments suggest some truth to the reports.
You can watch Iger's announcement in the player below, courtesy of CNBC:
UPDATE: Here is the official statement from Lucasfilm:
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."