Disney Chairman Drops STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Tidbits

Speaking today at the Bloomberg and Tribeca Film Festival Business of Entertainment Breakfast Tuesday in New York, as reported by Variety, Disney Chairman Alan Horn dropped a few Star Wars updates: He confirmed that a second unit has actually already started filming in Abu Dhabi, probably filling in for Tunisia as Luke’s home planet of Tatooine, which confirmed that those pictures snapped last week that everyone thought was an AT-AT foot were in fact from the set of Star Wars Episode VII (zero confirmation that it’s an AT-AT foot, but we can still hope, right?) “We have to give that the ‘Star Wars’-ian look, if I can use that as an adjective — we need to go to these places,” said Horn.  Also confirmed is that George Lucas is still a consultant on the first movie, and how you feel about that depends on how bitter you still are about the prequels. Oh, yeah, and the cast is said to be “nearly complete.” With principal photography about to begin at any minute, I would hope so.

But possibly the most interesting tidbit is that according to Horn, depending on script readiness, we might actually see the Star Wars films revert to their original May release dates. While Episode VII is still locked for a Christmas 2015 release, the rest of the trilogy (and possibly the spin-off films) could go back to where they arguably belong. Star Wars: A New Hope helped solidify the idea of the summer blockbuster for an entire generation (Spielberg’s Jaws was technically the first summer blockbuster two years before), and it feels kind of wrong to have Star Wars movies becoming Christmas movies. It’s okay once, but let’s not make it a thing, Disney.


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  • Star Wars at Christmas is wrong. I am sure its to get the family audience, but there is about a zillion movies coming out at Christmas, some shockingly have to do with the holiday. Its better to go back to May which I think it will.

  • In the event that a Christmas release can, in some unforeseen and unpredictable way, rehabilitate the Star Wars Holiday Special, then it will be worth it. In fact, that should be the sole reason.

  • Actually, Joe, it’s coming out in December because Abrams wouldn’t let Disney rush him into production before he felt the script was ready. Personally, I appreciate his commitment to getting the writing of the movie to a higher standard rather than jumping into the shoot just to make a predetermined release date. I know it’s weird after 6 movies to have one come out in the winter rather than Memorial Day weekend, but I’ll still see it even if it comes out on a Tuesday afternoon in March.

    (Plus, I don’t think they need to worry about “getting the family audience.” It is Star Wars, after all.) ;-)

  • At this point regarding episode VII it makes no difference what month of the year it is released because every other studio in Hollywood will be rescheduling their Holiday movies to avoid the Star Wars Juggernaut! In regards to the movies after episode VII it would be nice to return to the May release dates. George Lucas has lost his edge, and is past it ! Disney should temper every suggestion he makes with, (Jar Jar Binks, Are you an Angel? The force is just a disease, The immaculate conception, etc.).

  • Kathleen Kennedy was pushing for a May 2016 release in orderto give enough time for creative needs but Disney said December 2015 after Abrams wanted more time to do things rights when it was originally scheduled for release in May 2015. Still a May 2016 release financially may not be the best choice as in April both Captain America and the much awaited Superman/Batman movie which are going to such a lots of the summer ticket money up quickly. I’m a traditionalist and want a May release but box office numbers matter when you are filming a $200 million movie with two more in the planning. If releasing it in December improves the box office numbers and brings in an additional $40 or $50 million then so be it. I’ll be the first one in line whether they release it on Christmas Day or Memorial Day weekend.