Many were surprised when it was announced in December that Star Wars Episode VII‘s release date would be pushed back to December 18, 2015. Aside from 2008’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars (which is, at best, an extended TV episode), all the films have been released in May. However, simply because tradition has been set aside for a Christmas release doesn’t mean any more May releases, according to Disney chairman Alan Horn.
The Star Wars dates have been May, and we may revert to that at some point, it depends on the readiness of the screenplays or where we are, but this first one will be December 18th of 2015, so we’ll start with that and we’ll see.
Horn confirmed that casting is almost complete and that the film has begun shooting, although principal photography hasn’t started yet.
We’re not prepared to announce it yet but we will be very shortly announcing what we’re doing….We did some second unit work in Abu Dhabi and other places, because we have all these locations we have to film and we have to give it that “Star Warsian,” if I can use that as an adjective, look. So we needed to go to different places that give us the right look and feel and we did have second unit work shooting already but we haven’t commenced the main part of principle photography yet.
As for Episode VII‘s budget, Disney is sparing no expense, as they will be spending around $175-200 million on the first entry of the sequel trilogy. Horn stated that they needed to give the audience a “a full meal in return for their affection and devotion and love for these properties.” He also said that while Star Wars creator George Lucas may have sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he’s still being kept as a consultant, calling him a “very valued person.”
Sure, Lucas can be a consultant…just as long as they listen to his ideas as much as Geoff Johns’ ideas were taken into consideration for Green Lantern, which I suspect was hardly done. As far as the May releases go, seeing Star Wars films as summer blockbusters is cool, but creating a good product is the top priority for a film. If a December release happens as a result, so be it. Besides, it just means we have more to be thankful for during the holiday season…and think of the merchandising opportunities!