So, Disney have just over 3 years to get a Star Wars film into the cinemas to meet their 2015 deadline - it's a tough prospect for any film, let alone the unexpected next instalment in one of America's biggest film franchises. There's little doubt that Episode VII has been in development for some time already - indeed both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were aware of the project for the third trilogy as early as last year and Lucas has also said he's provided basic story treatments to Disney, so we're already past the stage of simple concepts and the basic outline is in place.
We know that the new trilogy will take place after the events of Return of the Jedi - so the Emperor and Darth Vader are dead. Who will replace them as villains given their storylines have been the backbone of the saga so far? Luke, Leia and Han may feature - but given the actors are older now the series would need to be set quite a few years after what we've seen OR they'd have to be recast which is something we wouldn't be keen on.
The 'Thrawn' trilogy that followed the theatrical films was set in the same sort of time frame but those stories would no longer fit with the prequel trilogy continuity so we can't see those books forming the basis of a new chapter, so there are lots of interesting questions in terms of what happens next and who we can expect to see again. Unlike some, we're keen to see what Disney can do - they have the money and talent AND have a proven track record for successfully delivering on the promise of big-name franchises (see The Avengers).
It's more than likely that there is a big name writer putting together their screenplay right now and there'll already be a director committed to the project. We know Lucas is creatively involved, but he won't be directing and he won't be turning in the final script - so who could working on Star Wars right now, and who would be a dream team?
Matthew VaughnThe X-Men: First Class director recently departed the X-sequel, Days of Future Past, leaving him with an empty schedule. We've loved his work on the X-Men film along with Stardust and we don't yet know why he stepped down from what was sure to be a massive hit. Could he have had an even better offer? We'd love to see his slightly grittier take on the franchise.
Brad BirdThe most recent Mission: Impossible was a great live-action proving ground for the director, who already has built up plenty of fan kudos with his work on The Iron Giant and Pixar films. Both have elements that would fit well with the Star Wars ideal - family films with a retro-futuristic sci-fi edge and a sprinkling of light comedy. Bird is an A-list director just waiting for the chance to sink his teeth into something big.
Andrew StantonJohn Carter was what a Star Wars film should be - indeed, it was one of the key inspirations for Lucas' growing saga. Stanton has proven his ability to direct big sci-fi action and again is a Disney stalwart who would easily fit into the bigger picture.
Joss WhedonAlready on Disney's books via his outstanding directorial duties on The Avengers and he's also got strong experience in working with large ensemble casts. Again he has sci-fi street cred that puts him in good stead and he is as good a writer as he is director so he could be in with a chance with one or both gigs! Whedon could even bring along his Firefly lead, Nathan Fillion, who would make for a great Han Solo-like character!
Damon LindelofHe's already had a go at one massive science fiction series, with mixed response, but we can't forget he's still a big name that carries a lot of weight. Prometheus may have been disappointing to many, but there were some great ideas and concepts that suffered from the writer's seeming inability to answer the questions he asks. Would his 'mystery' style of storytelling really fit with the Jedi storyline? Maybe it would...
George LucasYes, we've already said it's unlikely he'll get that much creative control, but he HAS written a treatment and regardless of fan feeling he did create the film that started this whole thing off. We don't think he'll write, but you never know what is true and what isn't when Lucas is concerned.
Steven SpielbergIndiana Jones 5 is on the back burner with Disney stating that nothing is currently in the works. Could Lucas long-term collaborator finally have a chance to put his mark on his friend's creation? We'd LOVE to see a Spielberg take on the series and his involvement might just be enough to entice Harrison Ford to make one more appearance so it would certainly have its benefits.
Kevin SmithIt's not going to happen, but wouldn't a Smith-style take on the Star Wars universe be fun? He's a big lover of the saga. He was involved in the TV series plans, so you never do know!
Steven MoffattHe's written for Spielberg (Tintin) and he's already reinvigorated another legendary science fiction franchise. He probably has his hands tied up with the tales of our favourite Timelord right now, but would a Moffatt take on the Jedi-Sith conflict be something worth watching?
What do you think? Who would you like to take on Star Wars over the next few years? Let us know in the comments below...