Over the past month, we’ve heard various stories about the involvement of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford for J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: Episode VII. Ford was reportedly on board, but then another report said that contract signings were still a ways off. Then Hamill said they were in talks, but nothing had been signed. Yesterday, Fisher confirmed she would return to play Princess Leia. Any way you slice it, it looks like the characters are in the script for the new movie, and the only question is when it will be declared official that the trio of actors are reprising their roles.
Your trust in George Lucas may have been shaken by the prequels, but you can still probably take his word when it comes to the business side of things even though he’s not actively involved in the new trilogy. Hit the jump for what he had to say about Hamill, Fisher, and Ford’s return.
Speaking to Businessweek, Lucas says that all of the rumors are nonsense because the actors were “pretty much” already on board before development began:
We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ ” He pauses. “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.” Then he adds: “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”
For all the coyness surrounding the negotiations, it sounds like Hamill, Fisher, and Ford are returning. As far back as last August, which was before the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney had been announced, Lucas had told Hamill and Fisher that the sequel trilogy was going forward.
Admittedly, Lucas’ comment in Businessweek may be a ploy to speed up negotiations, but there hasn’t been any word so far signaling reluctance from the three actors. They all seem fairly up on the idea of coming back, and the only question has been the status of the negotiations. I’m willing to bet that the negotiations were successful even if Lucas slightly backed off his statement at the end of the quote.