According to Latino Review, Harrison Ford has signed on to once again reprise his career-making role as Han Solo in the new Star Wars films (estimated release: 2015). While this isn’t close to an official announcement from the studio, Latino Review has proven itself to be generally reliable in the past.
If Ford is indeed returning to the Star Wars universe, then this would give weight to fan rumors than the new films will feature the original cast, at least in some capacity. With Ford at 70 years old, Hamill at 61 and Carrie Fisher at 56, having them at the center of an action-packed saga like Star Wars might be difficult, especially if the studio wants the films to appeal to kids. However, introducing new characters could be difficult as well. This is all conjecture, but were the studio to feature these beloved characters in the mature, powerful roles they will have earned as respected figures in the galaxy, they could still be a central part of the story while leaving the dogfights, blasters and cantina brawls to new characters. It would only make sense, really. If you’ve got an older, powerful Jedi like Luke Skywalker, he’s going to be of greater service to the galaxy teaching and advising instead of dueling with the latest young Sith on the block. Same with Leia and Han. They’re senior states-people; heroes of the rebellion. At this point they need to be shot-callers instead of trigger-pullers. It doesn’t mean that the older characters can’t still kick some butt, but why make them? They’re the Founding Fathers (and Mothers!) of the New Republic. Let the new blood earn their stripes and the respect of their seniors (and we, the audience) in the process.