I’m so glad I wasn’t in the Internet writing game whenever George Lucas was getting into his second Star Wars trilogy. I don’t even remember what most of the rumors were for any of those films’ pre-productions. I mean, I recall the predictions that Hayden Christensen was going to be more wooden than all the trees of Endor, but not much else. Episode VII has already sublet its own rumor mill, and with a lack of information coming from Disney’s recent D23 exhibition, there have been no official announcements on anything. So we take with a grain of salt that Disney and Lucasfilm are reportedly a December release date for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming sequel.
This latest rumor comes from Badass Digest, who claim they’re hearing from multiple sources. Apparently they’d be shooting for a mid-month release, with December 15 being the most likely choice. Has everyone finished sighing and shaking their heads in disappointment? A release late in the year would go against the long-lasting Star Wars tradition of getting the films into theaters in May, as each of the six previous films have done. I doubt Abrams and co. need any more immediate backlash from the throes of folks already putting the director out to the metaphorical pasture. This just in: He’s also renaming the Jedi the J.Jedi. (Not really.)
It’d be naive to think they’re just spitting in the face of the project’s history, however. There’s almost no way Episode VII will be finished by any date in May 2015, and there’s some speculation that the December date might still be too early, and that a Christmas release (or something later) may also be in the cards. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the marketability aspect. I mean, we’ll probably have teasers and previews by the end of the summer in 2015, just in time to roll out what will probably be the most massive marketing campaign we’ve ever seen. So with a release that close to Christmas, many stockings will be hung by the chimney, not with care, but with reinforced steel, since they’ll be so chock-full of Star Wars toys.
But if we’re looking at from a profitability point of view, which you know Disney and Lucasfilm are, then it seems obvious that avoiding the May release means avoiding the summer blockbuster season, and the huge competition it brings. Like, I don’t know, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which comes out on May 1, 2015. Granted, a Star Wars film is going to destroy the box office no matter what movie it goes up against, but I bet they’d feel a lot safer battling Kung Fu Panda 3 (with a December 23 release) rather than the sequel to the third most successful film of all time.