Lucasfilm Wants to Push ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ to 2016; Disney Says No Way
After the recent news that 'Star Wars: Episode 7' writer Michael Arndt was let go while director J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan would start a new script from scratch, Lucasfilm executives asked Disney to delay the 'Star Wars' release date to 2016 from the previously announced May 2015 date to allow more time to complete the film. Disney's answer: Nope, now get back to work.
The Hollywood Reporter says that earlier this month, Lucasfilm went to Disney CEO Bob Iger to beg for more time to complete 'Star Wars: Episode 7' only to find that Iger was "adamant" the film be released in 2015. As THR notes, this has put increased pressure on all involved, most notably Abrams who, in addition to all his pre-production duties as director, is working on a square-one rewrite of the script.
Filming has already been pushed back to spring 2014 (from a previously announced January start) and if it, like 'Revenge of the Sith,' shot for three months, that would only leave around eight-to-nine months for the lengthy post-production process. This is assuming that Abrams is able to begin shooting next spring, and without a script or a cast, even that looks like it will be a stretch. (What this article, and Disney, aren't mentioning is the rumored possibility of 'Star Wars: Episode 7' aiming for a Christmas 2015 release. This would give Abrams and crew an extra six months while still allowing for that precious 2015 release date.)
So, why is Disney adament about the 2015 release date? It's likely due to promises made to Disney shareholders when the Lucasfilm deal was announced. Remember, Disney paid $4 billion for Lucasfilm and they want to start making that money back sooner rather than later. Not only do they want the precious box-office receipts, but all the cash that comes from licensing, toys and the 2015 holiday season.
It's disappointing to know that Disney is putting Abrams and his 'Star Wars' crew under such a creative crunch, but with release date real estate at such a premium, this sadly has become the norm. Stake out your claim with a release date and then figure out how the hell you're going to get your movie done in time for that date.