George Lucas says the release of Star Wars Episode III could be delayed by up to three years - after admitting that most of his actors are "rubbish".
An Empire Divided was due to be released in May 2005, but LucasFilm say this is now ‘highly unlikely' due to fans' dwindling interest in the sci-fi series.
"The problem is that everyone knows that Anakin Skywalker is going to become Darth Vader," moaned Lucas. "It seemed like a great idea six years ago but now the element of surprise has gone. As things stand, the film is a dead duck. Most of the cast can't act their way out of a paper bag. If we're going to survive, we need to throw in an elaborate plot twist to keep up fans' interest."
Lucas would not be drawn on what the twist would be, although one source close to the film revealed that it would most likely mean converting Samuel L Jackson's character Mace Windu into the evil Lord of the Sith.
"Sam's the only half-decent actor they've got on board, and George feels he would be a hit in the Vader role," he said.
Lucas has also revealed his fears that fans are starting to drift away.
"The thing is, we're worried that the main core of the Star Wars fan-base, that is the sad, frustrated adults reliving their second or even third childhoods, have moved on in recent years," he confessed. "Many of them have irreversibly strayed over to either watching Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter or going line dancing with their spouses."
One fan, Terry Moon, 39, from Louisiana, who went to see the first Star Wars film 38 times, said he was ‘stunned' at the news of the film's delay.
"I'd already booked the opening night at my local cinema for the whole of my family," he said. "Me and my kids were all going to come dressed as Jar Jar Binks."