‘Star Wars 7′ Struggling to Make 2015 Date; Disney CEO Won’t Allow Delay to 2016?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 1st, 2013 at 5:01 am,

star wars episode 7 release date1 Star Wars 7 Struggling to Make 2015 Date; Disney CEO Wont Allow Delay to 2016?

There’s been a good deal of rumor-mongering about the release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, with claims that the seventh installment in the sci-fi space opera juggernaut will launch in either November 2015 or December 2015, in spite of Disney’s continued assurances that a Spring/Summer 2015 premiere remains the target date.

Today, we add some additional fuel to that fire, in the form of another story that raises doubts about when the movie will hit theaters (and no less than one day after the one-year anniversary of the Mouse House’s original announcement that it was buying Lucasfilm). Such news rounds out a tough week of speculation and unconfirmed reports about the development process on Episode VII, after the story from a few days ago that suggested Disney and Lucasfilm have been forced to get the ball rolling on a fifth Indiana Jones movie (in order to get Harrison Ford to commit to appearing in the next Star Wars trilogy).

Several of THR‘s insiders who are reported as being close to the project are now bringing in word that new Lucasfilm president and Episode VII executive producer Kathleen Kennedy – along with “most of the film’s creative team” – have asked Disney to push the release date back to 2016. However, Disney CEO Robert Iger is refusing to budge on the 2015 date, while director J.J. Abrams is apparently “in sync with Iger’s desire” – even though, as a result, he’s had to step in and contribute to the screenwriting process. Ironically, it was originally Abrams who was supposedly not committed to a 2015 release date for Episode VII, which started the rumors about a delay to 2016 in the first place.

jj abrams star wars episode 7 Star Wars 7 Struggling to Make 2015 Date; Disney CEO Wont Allow Delay to 2016?

THR is supporting the longstanding claim that Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) put together a 40-50 page story treatment for the seventh Star Wars installment, before Lucasfilm became a part of Mickey Mouse’s empire. Despite that, many of the site’s insiders say that the script “isn’t close to ready” and that is why Abrams is now working on the screenplay with Episode VII consultant and Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi screenwriter, Lawrence Kasdan (Some might argue that’s a blessing in disguise, even if the latest rumors are indeed accurate.)

The problem of studio executives setting a tentpole’s release date well ahead of production getting started – forcing the project to move down the pipeline faster than preferable – is one that we’ve heard about more and more frequently in recent years. The most infamous example would be when Matthew Vaughn ended up having to shoot/edit X-Men: First Class in a matter of ten months – when a year-long turnaround for an effects-heavy blockbuster is still quite short. More recently, we’ve seen big sequels like The Hunger Games: Catching FireDawn of the Planet of the Apes and Fast & Furious 7 lose the directors who made their immediate predecessor a hit (due to studios pressuring them to ship the next installment down the assembly line as quickly as possible).

Of course, Episode VII carries more burden than Luke Skywalker after he found out his daddy was Darth Vader, since it’s meant to serve as the launching pad for a new era in the Star Wars franchise. That means it needs to get a new generation hooked so they turnout for Episodes VIII & IX, new movie spinoffs, additional television series (see: Star Wars Rebels) and prove willing to buy a near-endless supply of multi-platform products (video games, action figures, tie-in novels, etc.). So, yeah, naturally there has to be some tension behind the scenes on Episode VII, no matter what.

Star Wars Episode 7 VII Logo Star Wars 7 Struggling to Make 2015 Date; Disney CEO Wont Allow Delay to 2016?

One THR insider has addressed just that, in an effort to downplay the fresh batch of discouraging rumors:

“[What’s going on with ‘Episode VII’ is] nothing out of the ordinary,” says the insider. “Almost every big movie changes writers at some point. There’s no drama here.”

That’s not the only issue where THR‘s inside sources appear conflicted, as certain ones are saying that Abrams has taken a greater amount of control of Episode VII in recent months, while others assure that both Abrams and Kennedy are involved in casting for the film (and beyond). Moreover, Abrams isn’t known for kowtowing to studio demands – he was able to get the dates for both Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness pushed back in order to allow the proper time for development. We’ve heard in the past that the entire reason that he changed teams from Star Trek to Wars is because he wanted to get the next phase in a major sci-fi franchise started on the right foot. So, why would Abrams jeopardize that by rushing Episode VII?

In conclusion, we should all probably hold off on bemoaning that Episode VII is doomed; or, alternatively, proclaiming that the film not been encountered any roadblocks at all. For all we know, in a matter of days – now that Disney has begun releasing Thor: The Dark World in theaters around the globe – we could be getting some major Star Wars announcements, be it official casting news, an exact 2015 release date or maybe even an announcement that Episode VII won’t arrive until 2016 after all (rather than try and compete in the 2015 box office derby).


Star Wars: Episode VII remains tentatively set for a 2015 theatrical release. We’ll let you know when/if that changes.

Source: THR

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. I think 2015 is already too packed as it is.

    I don’t think it has been said often enough (sarcasm) that it’s always best to have a polished and tight screenplay that takes more time to write than rush it out the door to get butts in the seats.

    The flip side is sometimes people need a fire under their asses to get working, but these peeps have done this long enough to know when a timeline just isn’t realistic.

    Opinion: Do it right. If you wait till 2016 but it means making $500,000 more, then wtf.

    Just because this one is being polished doesn’t mean you have to wait on writing the second one, then let that come out in a 2 year timeline.

    • Reminds me of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

      People hated that it got delayed for ages but when it finally released, it was widely acknowledged as a masterpiece and one of the greatest videogames of all time.

      In my view, they should have a treatment detailing all three episodes and a way to connect the spinoffs then work from that while giving it enough time to organically grow into a great series of movies while also not being too complacent as to procrastinate in the name of crafting something spectacular.

      I know I’m not in the movie business but when I write (whether it’s a short story, a song, maybe even painting a picture), I like to take my time with some aspects and then set a near impossible deadline to get it finished and usually end up with my best work from that kind of way of doing things.

      • Or how about Avatar? Bigger hit than Ocarina of Time

    • If they can’t even confirm whether or not Ford, Hamill, and Fisher are going to be in it yet, then it is unlikely to be far enough along to be released in 2015. It’s still in the rumor and innuendo stage.

    • $500,000 more? I know that you meant $500 million, but Holy Huge Payday, Batman!

      • *or maybe I missed sarcasm, and you really did mean $500K. Never mind…

  2. I think that Iger is making a poor decision by insisting on the movie being released in 2015. If the quality of the movie will be enhanced by delaying the release for one year, then so be it.

    • I assume he may want the personal achievement of saying that Disney have two major franchise movies in the Top Ten at the same time and with both making at least a billion dollars each.

      • I would be surprised if that were the reason. And, even if it is, turn I think that’s a terrible reason to rush the movie. As someone posted earlier, 2015 is stacked already. I think that there are a lot more upsides than downsides to delaying the movie till 2016.

    • I wouldn’t doubt if that was the case. But Iger may actually be destroying the franchise and all the money they spent on it by forcing it to be rushed. If they come out with a moive that is sub-par or even a movie like Episode I again, I can guarantee you the franchise will not survive it. Nobody will want to see the spin-off films or see the 8 and 9.

  3. Yeah so what if they need until 2016? it’s been 30 years since the last decent Star Wars flick was released! whats another year?

    I really don’t understand the studio bosses as they will make their ROI over and over and over, they cant be so desperate for the money they will go broke in the mean time?

    • Good points.

      • Return On Investment.

  4. Well, if it comes out in 2015 and does badly, they can try to pull the it was rushed card. If the give it extra time to 2016 and it still tanks, well, that looks worse. Plus they can blame the crowded 2015 summer as well.

  5. Moff Jerjerrod: The Emperor’s coming here?
    Darth Vader: That is correct, Commander. And, he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.
    Moff Jerjerrod: We shall double our efforts.
    Darth Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

  6. How long until Abrams is off the project?…

    • Not soon enough, although you and I are probably in the minority on that.

  7. JJ is a poor man’s Spielberg. his movies have all the polish, flash and crowd pleasing epic-ness of classic Spielberg pictures, but without the heart. JJ’s movies are hollow, clunky, and poorly written.

    • Agreed! His popularity amazes me, but then, there are a lot of people and things “popular” these days that shouldn’t be.

      • Yep, with examples off the top of my head being Adam Sandler, Kim Kardashian, Joss Whedon, Robin Thicke etc.

        • Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and although I’m inclined, I won’t venture into the political realm, for fear of setting off a big debate here…

        • Anything and anyone involved with reality television.

      • I agree as well.

    • Can’t believe what you just said !
      Its like you took my thoughts out of my mind !

      Respect him really,think he has the right direction but not the heart for execution ! His Films all lack emotion,they feel disconnected and cold !

  8. Don’t rush it!

  9. Frankly, I’m glad all of this is happening. The original trilogy (and the best three films of the series) were all shot under duress. If a Star Wars set isn’t [projected to be] chaotic then I’d really be worried the movie’s quality. This along with practical effects bring back that ‘used car’ feel to the series is actually good news to fans.

    • I don’t mind so much backgrounds being CGI, but not characters. I am one, for example, who loved The Hobbit but was nevertheless extremely disappointed that they made the Orcs CGI, unlike the the LOTR trilogy. Of course, it would be difficult for a character like Gollum to be done any other way, and that did work well. I guess it’s all a matter of quantity, as well as quality.

      • I too dislike the CGI characters, there’s no need, just one example WTF was going on with Max Rebo Band in Jedi? honestly how the f*ck did that enhance the film in anyway? or the rest of the sh*t they added to the original trilogy! um yeah step away from the CGI is what I was saying.

  10. Whatever yield the best film. It might not be bad to release in 2016 to avoid competition, but as others have mentioned, more time does not always mean better progress.

    If the screenplay is not yet “near ready”…what is the delay? Wasn’t it prioritized when the project was launched?

  11. The shareholders were promised that the movie will be out by 2015 so yep disney should have it out in 2015
    Even if its just 120 minutes of jj Abrams taking a dump with the title Star Wars on it

    As George Lucas showed, this is a business!!!! And nothing more!!!!

    • I don’t recall an outright promise being made that the movie will be released in 2015. Even if one was met, I am confident that a number of Disney shareholders would rather Episode VII to be rushed simply to release it in 2015 when it isn’t ready.

  12. Water is wet.

    The sky is blue in the day.

    This movie will get delayed to 2016.

    Birds use their wings to fly.

  13. Push it back several months, maybe for September or October release. Summer 2015 is packed enough as it is and the more I can save money, the better.

  14. Unless there is a complete script rewrite going on there’s no reason why this movie shouldn’t make a 2015 release date.
    I also want to say that it’s been a year now. Besides knowing who will direct the movie we really don’t seem to know squat which seems a bit off IMO and every rumor we hear seems to get debunked soon after so again I ask what do we know, and what’s taking so long???
    Do you have a script or not?
    Is it finished?
    Who wrote/is writing it?
    Who’s starring in it?
    Heck, I’m not even the biggest fan of Marvel’s films but they have more films slated for after 2015 that are farther along than this 1 film that’s been in different stages of production for almost a year…

    • The difference is you think they need a ‘re-write’, but what they’re trying to do is get the first ‘write’ down in the first place.

  15. not even january 2016?

  16. Disney execs need to get the bonuses so it will go ahead as planned

  17. I have a bad feeling about this….

    • I hear you Han !

  18. Disney paid (4+ billion) for Lucas Films. If Disney makes 12 movies costing 125 mill each + 100 mil for marketing, each movie will have to gross $600 mil just for Disney to break even on this deal.

    That is 25 years if Disney produces a Star Wars franchise film ever other year. Therefore, the studio justified in not wanting to back the release dates back.

    But that is a lot of pressure to put on film makers and script writers.

    • you forget about merchandise, licensing, dvd and blue ray sales. Would not be surprised if those combined made 70-80% of the total profits minimum.

      • Electronic Arts bought the gaming console, computer and mobile gaming License from Disney. Disney retained the social, tablet and online gaming rights. Lucas arts was shutdown.
        Apparel, publishing, toys, housewares were already stole off.
        Meaning Disney already receives a flat fee payout for licensing.

    • You are right about why Disney does not want to delay the releasing of the film, but the biggest reason is not revenue from the movies but revenue from the merchandise of those films. If all goes well, they could start turning a profit by the second film.

  19. Typo – Screenwriters, not script writers.

  20. Let’s not forget, Disney doesn’t just reap the profits from the films – licensing is a huge part if this deal and that’s where the big bucks come from.

    I’m with the folks who feel this compressed timeline is good for the movie. Scale the effects way back – it was story and character that made the original trilogy such a success. We see endless effect-heavy movies failing these days. Get the script and casting right and the rest will fall into place.

    Cut way back on the bizarre CG characters. No more thousand-ship battles that no pilot could ever successfully navigate and are impossible to follow as a viewer. And most importantly, bring Jedi back to their more mystical and mysterious origin. No more all-powerful, I can do anything Jedi.

    Take Star Wars back to its roots.

    • Agree with everything except rushing the film. Too many movies have been butchered because of execs rushing the process.

      But yes, I couldn’t stand the Jedi in the prequel. No excitement. Oh no, a million battle droids. Here come a couple of Jedi. No challenge.

  21. I think that a lot of movies are rushed like this. I saw a documentary about the a nightmare on elm street series of movies. This one guy said that he was seeing posters for a nightmare on elm street 5 even before the script was written. The director said he got the job on valentines day and the movie was out in theaters in august of the same year. I do know that Star Wars 7 is going to be a lot harder to make than the nightmare on elm street movies.

  22. I couldn´t believe this…
    I mean, WHAT have they done in the past year? It must be a lie.

    There are no delays, there are no casting problems, There are no lack of script ideas, Everything will be okay and right on time…I want to think that.

    • Believe in the Force

    • Like I said above…they have not even been able to confirm if Ford, Hamill, and Fisher are going to be in it. Why? Likely because, after a year, they don’t have a thoroughly fleshed out and approved story yet.

  23. Two words. Star Trek.

    The original motion picture. Good concept, very Star Trek, horrible special effects and editing. Made it into a so so film, certainly not considered the best of the series.


    Look it up. When you find the answer you’ll start chanting “2016” with me.

  24. I am not impressed with Abrams as a director/writer. He delayed Into Darkness to get a script but we received a weak story with plenty of plot holes. I had hoped the destruction of Vulcan would have played a role in the second film or at least have an impact on Spock – none of those things happened. I am suspicious he will do something totally insane with Star Wars to appear artistic/creative or innovative. However, I have faith the House of Mouse will not do anything too risky with their new baby.

    • It is reassuring for me to see multiple people disenchanted with Abrams here. I felt his Star Trek reboot and sequel were mildly entertaining, but poor screen writing, and among the worst of the Trek films. I am concerned what he intends to do in the Star Wars universe.

      • Hopefully the story concept that existed before Abrams came on board is strong and will not be messed up by all the different screenwriters involved.

  25. I’d rather wait and it be great than see it sooner and it only be okay.

  26. so instead of having it done right,
    they want it done right away,..
    Yes, because it worked SO WELL before,…
    well, it was nice to have hope in the film while I could,
    because now it’s rapidly fading out right now.
    although on that notion, I think Disney would see that as a “good thing”…)

  27. These people are amateur film makers! Give me 24 hours, I’ll write a complete script of Star wars 7. Give me 3 months, we will have story boards, concept art, design, costumes, and all the pre production taken care of. Give me 4 months of principal photography and 5 months of post production, and we could release it in 2014!


  28. I still think it’ll release in 2015. They won’t delay a multi-billion dollar set of paychecks. All it has to do is begin shooting next year and they can do that. They’ve already scheduled shooting locations at London’s studio.

    They need to start building those X-Wings ASAP.

    • Rob, I’ve read somewhere that Bob Iger is retiring from his position in 2015. Maybe he absolutely wants Episode VII as his “final act” before leaving…

  29. I know, why don’t we cut corners and rush it into theaters. That way it can live up to the high standards set by the Prequel Trilogy.