Friday, November 8, 2013

"Star Wars: Episode VII" Gets a Release Date of December 2015!

Are you ready to return to that galaxy far, far away?  It's happening folks, and there is no stopping it.

I've been quiet on the Star Wars: Episode VII front for a while now, but it's really because there's been nothing to tell.  Well, nothing official at least.  I've been asked by a few people when I was going to write more about the film, and that's the whole reason why.  I've only ever made posts when Lucasfilm and Disney finally made something official, because as I've learned in the past with countless other movies and whatnot, that it's pointless to hypothesize about rumors when they are more than likely never going to happen.  As it is, we have finally gotten official news this past week, but first let me set the stage as to why this news has been such a huge relief for Star Wars fans.

Over the past few weeks there's been lots of rumors flying fast and hard about Star Wars: Episode VII, not all of the rumors were good.  The word was that producer Kathleen Kennedy wanted to push the release date back to 2016, where as Disney CEO, Bob Iger, wanted the film out by 2015.  Then there were the script issues, that were brought into question when original writer, Michael Arndt, left the project, and director, J.J. Abrams, was tapped alongside The Empire Strikes Back co-writer, Lawrence Kasdan, to rewrite the script.  The word was the script was a contributing factor to the release date woes, as Abrams pointed out in a recent interview, that the change in writers was a time issue to get the script finished, rather than having anything to do with Arndt's writing.

It's been a busy few weeks of furious rumors, and I am personally glad that Lucasfilm and Disney are realizing that they're being so quiet and secretive about everything is more self-destructive than it is actually helping.  Ultimately, the release date battle has been solved.  A compromise has been reached, and as reported by the only site that has so far delivered any official word on Episode VII,, the film will hit theaters on December 18, 2015.  My first reaction?  It's happening, it's really happening.

For me, personally, I thought there would never be anymore Star Wars movies after the prequels.  I thought that was it, and I've almost been borderline grieving the end of the greatest cinematic saga of all-time (prequel haters just need to get a life).  What this means for me is that this all hasn't just been a dream, there are going to be new Star Wars films, and there seems to be a lot of love and care being put into them to make Star Wars as great as it's always been.

What do I make of the release date?  Well, honestly it does sadden me a bit to think that it will be the first live action Star Wars film without a May release date, but I always thought the Summer of 2015 was too tight a schedule to make a good film of this scale, and even an extra 6-7 months are not as good as if the film had been released in 2016.  Ultimately, though, there is so much talent working on this film, there is no way they wont pull their acts together and make something that isn't, at the very least, worthy of the name Star Wars.

The good side is that this will be a perfect movie to see with the family at Christmastime, not to mention the fact that we're always looking for a little magic around that time of year anyways, and Star Wars has always supplied movie magic far greater than any other film franchise that's ever existed.  Then there's the fact that from a business standpoint it gives Disney's other major blockbuster, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, room to breath and roam during the Summer of 2015, rather than having to compete for screens with Episode VII.

With that all said, it sounds like Episode VII is right on track, and any behind-the-scenes drama has been wildly overblown.  Do I think that there might have been script issues at one point?  Yeah, but every movie has those.  Ask any writer and they'll tell you.  Might there have been a disagreement over a certain plot point or whatever that led to Arndt's departure?  Possibly, but that's no reason to fret.  Whenever you have a bunch of creative people trying to realize something, there are inevitably going to be debates, and in Hollywood, typically whoever has the bigger name power, in this case being Abrams, will usually win out the day.  It's as simple as that.  The bottom line is that the producers and the studio are feeling that this film is far enough along to where they actually need to stake a claim on a date.  That's the real takeaway point here.

With production set to begin in Spring of 2014, and open casting calls going on all across the US and the UK over the next month for what are assumed to be the two leads of the new trilogy, expect casting announcements soon.  While I don't often post about rumors, Mark Hammil, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, will be back.  No matter what they say in interviews, the word has been that Hammil and Fisher have been signed for a while now, and that Ford has recently closed on an agreement with Disney and Lucasfilm.  Any fears that you wouldn't get to see Luke, Han, or Leia, on the bigscreen together again, can be put to rest.   Really, at this point, it's only a matter of time before Disney and Lucasfilm make their casting official, and I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't happen before the end of the year.  Another bit of casting that I wouldn't be surprised to hear either by the end of the year, or at the start of 2014, is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch.  This has been a rumor for a long time, and it's the one rumor that has stuck for the longest, aside from the return of Han, Luke, and Leia.  Will he be the villain?  More than likely, and that's all I'll say at this point.

So as we sit here, all I have to say to any Star Wars fans reading out there, is that there is no need for worry or alarm.  The Star Wars sequel we fans have always wanted is on its way and is on schedule.  Don't listen to all of the rumors saying the film is far behind, I mean, for goodness sake, Industrial, Light, & Magic have been working on Episode VII for nearly a year now, developing concept art and preliminary special effects.  The folks at Disney and Lucasfilm know what the story is and what will happen, and now it's all just about fine tuning everything so that they can actually get filming when they need to in order to meet this December release in 2015.  There has never been a more exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, so just enjoy the ride, because that's what I'm going to be doing from here on out.

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