UPDATE: Not surprisingly, the rumor that 1952 is a cover for Star Wars VII has already been debunked thanks to an insider who spoke with First Showing. Original story follows.

Tuesday’s news that Disney had plans to create a whole new Star Wars trilogy immediately sparked a thousand blog posts (including ours) about who should direct the next installment. But if one intriguing theory making the rounds turns out to be true, the die may already have been cast.

Said speculation hinges on the notion that the top-secret Brad Bird / Damon Lindelof project set up at Disney, currently titled 1952, is actually Star Wars VII. Does it hold water? Hit the jump to read more.

AICN was among the first to post the theory, which is based mostly on the timing of both the Star Wars plans and the 1952 development process. Portland Mercury has a nice and simple rundown:

May, 2011: Bob Iger and George Lucas begin discussing the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney.

June, 2011: Damon Lindelof hired by Disney (for a 7 figure deal) to write a huge sci-fi epic for the studio. The project is named 1952, and nothing else is known about it.

August, 2011: Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are told by George Lucas at a Star Wars convention that the sequel trilogy is coming.

May, 2012: Brad Bird is hired to direct the Lindelof 1952 project, and brings on Jeff Jensen, author of Eisner Award-winning graphic novel Green River Killer to further develop the script, which is intended to become a huge tentpole film, with all the merchandising, toy selling and sequel opportunities such a prospect provides.

June, 2012: Kathleen Kennedy is named co-chair of Lucasfilm, a move that surprised quite a few people in Hollywood as they didn’t know why she’d vacate her position as a prime Hollywood mover/shaker to join a studio that was essentially, shapeless and aimless.

October, 2012: Disney and Lucasfilm close the deal, and immediately announce Star Wars, Episode VII for release in 2015, with Lucas as a “creative consultant” and Kennedy as the President of Lucasfilm. Kennedy specifically notes that they’ve been talking to “a couple of writers” and they know where they want to go for the seventh movie.

Now, as for whether the theory holds up to scrutiny…

On the positive side, the timeline makes some sense when it’s laid out like that. Then there’s the fact that Lindelof and Bird seem like exactly the kind of names a studio might want for a massive project like this. Very little is confirmed about 1952 at this point aside from the fact that it’s a sci-fi project with “mutli-platform aspirations, and Disney intends for it to become a large-scale tentpole film.” That could plausibly describe Star Wars VII as well.

On the other hand, the small bit of info we do have about 1952 so far doesn’t really point to Star Wars. Most observers have speculated that it’ll be about aliens,1952 being an important year in extraterrestrial lore. Vulture‘s spies have noted that it’s “very much in the spirit of Close Encounters (and centers around a Roy Neary-like protagonist),” which doesn’t sound that much like Star Wars.

Ultimately, I’m inclined to believe the simplest explanation — that 1952 really is just an unrelated project about aliens. But the theory has just enough going for it that I don’t want to dismiss it out of hand, and in any case it’s fun to think about. What do you think?

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