Star Wars: Episode VII is still over a year and a half away, but that doesn't mean we aren't already obsessed with it. And rightly so - it's Star Wars. It's the Olympics of the movie world, only with less doping and more Corellians.
A year and a half is a long time not knowing what's going to happen to our favorite Jedi/Smuggler/Space Princess team, though. There are some seriously weird things we can expect to - or hope not to - see in the sequels, and the not knowing is a living nightmare not unlike a Sarlacc pit.
Fortunately, we might already know what some of them are. We'll start with the most childhood-destroying, because George Lucas isn't the only one who gets to be cruel.
1) Chewbacca will probably die.
Now, to be up front about all this - I will be touching on Expanded Universe stuff here, and don't worry, I'm completely aware that Disney and J.J. Abrams have no intention of considering most of it to be canon. Which, honestly, makes a whole lot of sense - a whole lot of it is incomprehensible. The Expanded Universe is huge, however - so some of it is almost certainly going to sneak in to Episode VII, even if only by accident.
And that means Chewie is probably going to die.
In the books, he dies a noble death, protecting his friends from an invading alien race - if you ever want to really, really upset your inner child, try reading all about it in the novel Vector Prime.
And that's exactly the sort of thing that J.J. Abrams is into.
The sequels are going to have to make all of us care about a bunch of teenagers and twenty-somethings who aren't quite as cool as the original characters that we've loved for decades.
And if you want that to work - you have to kill off someone they love, so that they have a purpose. And if we learned anything from Episode I, it's that it works better when it's someone we already care about. Someone part of the history, but not actually integral to the plot at any point. Someone even hairier than Liam Neeson.
Plus, Peter Mayhew is now 69 - You have to suspect that he's being brought back for a finite amount of running around in a giant hairy suit.
2) He'll probably die so a teenager can learn a valuable lesson about something.
The Expanded Universe is full of the main character's children running around, fighting weirdly named alien species, and generally converting back and forth between the Jedi and the Sith every single book.
Now the films won't just be about that - they'll certainly focus on the original heroes to begin with - but eventually Harrison Ford is going to have to hang up his blaster, and hand over to a younger, cooler, model.
And just as the prequels became Anakin's love story, and Star Trek became a Kirk and Spock bromance, Episode VII will have to find a young set of protagonists that we actually care about.
3) Those protagonists will be Han and Leia's kids.
They might not have the same names or back-stories as the Expanded Universe progeny, but they'll be there. 35 years have gone by, which leaves the duo plenty of time to have popped out a few appropriately action movie aged kids.
In the books, Chewie dies saving their youngest son, Anakin. When they need an incredibly depressing ending for the second film, where do you think they'll look?
4) Nothing good is going to happen to those kids. Ever.
In the books, Han and Leia have twins, Jacen and Jaina, both of whom become war heroes. Right up until their younger brother Anakin is killed, and Jacen turns to the dark side, takes over the universe, and has to be killed by - you guessed it - his twin sister Jaina.
None of that will happen in the movies - but that doesn't mean their lives won't be monumentally awful. They'll have grown up in the aftermath of a civil war, with active combatant parents, while being trained to be super-soldier-ninjas - because of course they'll be Jedi. That sort of childhood is the kind of thing you don't just shake off.
Especially when you consider:
5) Princess Leia is going to have spent thirty-five years as a politician.
Han's a dashing smuggler. Luke's the last of the Jedi. Leia, though? She's a politician, through and through. If it turns out that - unlike the Expanded Universe - she's never become Galactic President (or similar) in that 35 year gap, it's going to be a pretty monumental downer.
Not least because:
6) The Empire will never have gone away - and will now be the rebellion.
Pretty much every other Expanded Universe novel is the story of how some Imperial general or another has dug up a few Star Destroyer's and started taking back the universe.
It leads to the best bit of Expanded Universe fiction, the Thrawn Trilogy. And also to Han Solo's son taking over the universe. So it's a mixed bag.
In that universe, though, Han, Luke and Leia are going to have been fighting every day of their lives to protect the rebellion's victory. If Episode VII opens with a battered, scarred Harrison Ford shooting down a Star Destroyer (whether it shoots first or not), then that's why. (Incidentally, that should absolutely be how Episode VII, and every other movie, starts.)
7) Meanwhile, Luke will have acquired a school. Which means training montages.
The half of the Expanded Universe that isn't all about Imperial rebellion is usually preoccupied with Luke rebuilding the Jedi. Which he will obviously have to do, otherwise Episode VII would end up feeling like a Clint Eastwood film, with Luke an angry, bitter old hermit who has failed to revive his beloved religious order after several decades.
And Jedi School means Padawans, and Padawans mean training. And that path leads to the dark side.
8) Literally, that path leads to the dark side.
The Expanded Universe is essentially a long series of betrayals, in which Luke trains new Jedi, they get converted to a new and exciting Sith order, and then either convert back, or get killed in a sun crushing or Galaxy Gun related incident.
Aside from the fact that someone should really start questioning Jedi teaching standards, this is exactly the sort of thing that is going to come up in the new sequels. Someone is definitely going to betray our heroes - because someone always does - and this time, it isn't going to be Lando.
9) When Luke isn't being betrayed, he's being cloned.
This is exactly the kind of thing that we should expect to see an element of in Episode VII. The Thrawn books were produced fairly closely with LucasFilm back in the 90's, and as antagonists go, Mark Hamill is pretty much the best there is.
How's this for a twist? Darth Vader's back - and he's Luke Skywalker.
Sorry, Luuke Skywalker. Ahem.
It would also allow the filmmakers to do something pretty remarkable: bring back a young Mark Hamill through special effects. It's been done before.
And last of all:
10) It'll be an entirely different Star Wars universe to what we've seen before.
Abrams will take us back to Tatooine, and Hoth, and probably some sort of moon of Endor. But they won't be the same. This is going to be a universe scarred, and rebuilt, and constantly under threat of system-wide destruction.
It's going to be a dark, scary, crime-ridden place - even more so than before. Everywhere you go you're going to find crime lords, bounty hunters and piracy. In this world, we might watch our heroes try to reform and protect a grubby universe that doesn't deserve them - or we might, if we're lucky, get to see them, or at least their kids, go rogue. It's possible that we'll watch Junior Solos and Skywalkers race across the universe, chased by Imperials who hate them, having to do whatever it takes to survive - and its a J.J. Abrams film, so they'll be making entertaining wisecracks as they do so. So...
Star Wars: Episode VII.
I know what it'll be about.
It'll be Firefly. With Jedi.
And actually, you know what? Worse things could happen.
What do you guys think, though? Will Episode VII be nothing like any of this? How do you think the new trilogy will actually play out? Let me know below!