George Lucas Sheds Light On Return Of Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, And Mark Hamill To 'Star Wars'

Since Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced the imminent creation of Star Wars Episode VII, we've heard a string of rumors suggesting that the film will feature the core cast of the original Star Wars trilogy. They might not be the primary characters, but they'll be in there. At various times, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill have suggested that they'll be back, and Harrison Ford's return to the role of Han Solo has been persistently rumored.

Now there's a quote from George Lucas that doesn't exactly confirm that the actors will be back for the new film(s), but at least explains where much of the talk came from in the first place. 

Bloomberg Business Week has a big profile on Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, and in the piece George Lucas says,

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.' 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. I won't say whether the negotiations were successful or not.

From context, it sounds as if these negotiations were held before Disney announced the purchase of Lucasfilm, which means they may have been before the final script was in the works and J.J. Abrams was hired to direct. Given the caution Lucas expresses with his statement, we won't take this as final confirmation, but it certainly explains what has driven various comments from both the cast and onlookers over the past few months. And at this point, if the trio doesn't return, it'll be a surprise.