First off, the announcement we’ve all been waiting for. Disney will release Star Wars: Episode VII at the end of 2015, on December 18th. This marks the first time a Star Wars movie will be released at the end of the year instead of during summer blockbuster season. Disney should have a big 2015 considering that they’re going to release The Avengers: Age of Ultron that summer and Star Wars: Episode VII that winter. Filming will begin in spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios in England.
A few weeks ago, the production was shaken when it was announced that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan would take over writing duties. Screenwriter Michael Arndt’s exit from the project raised questions about the film’s overall quality.
While promoting Bad Robot’s Almost Human on conference call with Deadline, Abrams opened up about why he and Kasdan took over the script. One of the reasons was the shorter time frame the movie had to be completed and in theaters. Abrams said it would be faster if they handled the writing. Abrams explained:
It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be. Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable.
Abrams didn’t give any specifics or reasons why Arndt left, though the 47-year-old director offered up some kind words for the writer. He said:
Working with Michael was a wonderful experience and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of his or adore him more, He’s a wonderful guy and was incredibly helpful in the process. [This event] doesn’t preclude working with Michael again in the future, he is one of the best writers around.
Arndt started working on the screenplay for Episode VII even before Disney acquired Lucasfilm in October of last year. He wrote a 40-page treatment based on George Lucas’ original outline for the sequel trilogy. The Academy Award winning screenwriter’s next film will be The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which opens in theaters on November 22nd.
Recently, there have been some issues surrounding Episode VII’s 2015 release date. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy wanted more time for the story to come together, and was looking at the possibility of pushing the release back to 2016, but Disney CEO Bob Iger was adamant about sticking to the original 2015 schedule. This new development raised even more questions about the film production’s readiness.