What ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ News Can We Expect From D23?

Next week, Comic-Con will kick off in San Diego, but the annual geeky gathering will be missing the one property that just about everyone was hoping would make an appearance. Disney chose to put their Comic-Con spotlight squarely on Marvel and their plans for expanding that universe, and yesterday we found out why.

Disney announced that “Star Wars” would be a key player in their own D23 Expo, a biennial show in Anaheim, California that the studio uses to hype upcoming projects. A press release from the House of Mouse described two events already planned for D23, an exhibit about the development of Darth Vader and “Crash Course in the Force,” a remedial overview of all things “Star Wars.”

But where are the big plans for “Episode VII”? While nothing is official, The Hollywood Reporter cited “insiders” who said that “Star Wars” actors would appear at the expo to confirm their involved in the Abrams movie due out in 2015.

So what can we expect from “Star Wars” at D23? Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.

Ford, Hamill, and Fisher Confirmed for “Episode VII”
Bet on it. For the past few months, we’ve essentially been waiting for Disney and Lucasfilm to find a good enough excuse to announce what everyone is already assuming to be the case. All three of the principal cast members will be in “Episode VII.” They’ve each said in one way or another that’s it’s probably happening. Seeing Han, Luke, and Leia again is kind of the whole point of continuing the series, and Disney would never make a sequel to the original trilogy without securing them and have most likely been waiting for the right occasion to announce their return.

New Cast Members Announced
This would be kind of a shocker, but there are some things to consider. It’s not outrageous to believe the Abrams has locked down a lead actor for “Episode VII,” which according to early rumors and a supposed leaked casting sheet will be a young woman, since the movie is supposed to start filming in London early next year. (Putting this out there now: My money is on Elle Fanning for almost no reason at all other than “Super 8.”) Two things make me think this won’t happen though. 1) Announcing this and the Big Three return at D23 would take away from the latter, and 2) Something like this almost always gets out via a trade publication like Deadline, THR, or Variety beforehand. Plus, we haven’t even seen a shortlist yet, which would have to mean that Abrams is keeping the lid on tighter than ever.

“Episode VII” Title Revealed
If Disney was going to announce something else besides the return of Fisher, Hamill, and Ford, this would be it. Imagine it. “Luke, Leia, and Hans will be back in ’Star Wars: Episode VII – The Blankity Blank Blank Rises.’ ” You’d have to sub in the actual title, but that sounds pretty cool, right?

The D23 Expo kicks off on August 9 and runs through August 11, so stick with MTV News for any and all “Star Wars” updates.