It has been long believed that Harrison Ford is returning as Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode VII, despite any official word from the actor himself or LucasFilm. The latest unconfirmed report sheds some new light on the negotiation process, as it seems the actor has talked Disney into developing Indiana Jones 5, which he used as a bargaining chip for him to return for Star Wars: Episode VII.
While, of course, this hasn't been confirmed by LucasFilm yet, it does make sense since the actor was very adamant about wanting to return for Indiana Jones 5 in a interview earlier this month, where he also sidestepped questions about his return in Star Wars: Episode VII. Harrison Ford reportedly wanted Disney to commit to making Indiana Jones 5 as a part of his Star Wars deal, but that isn't happening quite yet. Instead, Disney agreed to develop a treatment for the next Indy sequel by the end of 2014 and, if all parties are satisfied with the story, they will move forward on production for a tentative 2016 release.
Harrison Ford also reportedly approved of his Han Solo character arc that stretches beyond Star Wars: Episode VII, which lead to the actor agreeing to a multi-picture deal. It isn't known how many films his deal is for, or if it includes Star Wars: Episode VIII, Star Wars: Episode IX or the proposed Untitled Star Wars Han Solo Spin-Off.
One big hurdle that remains in place for Disney developing Indiana Jones 5 is that Paramount Pictures owns the rights to that franchise, and Disney rarely co-produces their movies with other studios. However, according to a Disney Parks employee, the studio is actively pursuing the franchise. Here's what he had to say, when asked if any changes may be made to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
"No changes are being made to it right now because Disney is trying to be active with the franchise."
After acquiring LucasFilm and Marvel Studios in recent years, one might think it wouldn't be too hard to pick up the Indiana Jones rights, although Paramount reportedly has no plans to let the franchise go at this time.