A year has passed since Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and plan to release Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015 was announced, yet we still know remarkably little about the film (beyond rumor and hearsay). Similarly, J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) has been onboard as director on Episode VII for 9-10 months; yet, it was only two weeks ago that Disney/Lucasfilm confirmed that Abrams has taken over screenwriting – in collaboration with Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) – from Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3).

Abrams has since teased his planned aesthetic/storytelling approach to Episode VII; in essence, a blend of the grittier space western feel of Episodes IV-VI with the slicker and heavier sci-fi vibe of Episodes I-III (i.e. along the lines of Abrams’ Star Trek movies). Meanwhile, the rumors just keep on circulating, with regard to what actors/actresses will be cast in the film – alongside the expected returning players from previous Star Wars installments – and what date, exactly, will Episode VII open in theaters.

Thus far, Disney/Lucasfilm has been sticking with its previous line – Episode VII should arrive in theaters by Spring/Summer 2015 – even as the rumors continue to pile up, pointing to a Fall/Winter 2015 theatrical debut instead. However, just today, Disney’s Director of Retail in the Netherlands, Dennis Barbie, posted the following on Twitter (hat tip to Bleeding Cool and Jedi News):

When asked by a follower if a December 2015 date was now being planned for Episode VII, Barbie replied “end of CY15 [is the target] but in the entertainment business you will never know.” (For those unaware, CY is a typical abbreviation for common and/or calendar year.)

That said, last week’s report that Disney CEO Robert Iger wants Episode VII to reach theaters by 2015 – even though Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy would prefer a 2016 date – also points to a late 2015 release being more likely now. That should work as a good compromise date, while still allowing Kennedy and Abrams more time to properly finish writing, shooting and editing the seventh Star Wars installment (assuming that the unconfirmed status update for Episode VII is accurate, that is).

One recent Episode VII rumor pointed to the film hitting theaters on November 11th, 2015, which would be less than a week after the 24th James Bond movie opens and 9 days before The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 releases. Another possible route would be for Episode VII to hit theaters in the first half of December that year (a la Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films), some 1-2 weeks before the 2015 Winter Holiday frame brings such titles as Warcraft and Kung Fu Panda 3 to your local multiplex.

If nothing else, you can rest assured that if Episode VII does release in 2015, it will break from the Star Wars tradition of having a May premiere date – what with Disney having already set a little film called The Avengers: Age of Ultron to open that month.

We hope to have a confirmed release date for Star Wars: Episode VII in the foreseeable future.

Source: Dennis Barbie [via Bleeding Cool and Jedi News]

“Star Wars Trilogy II” Header Artwork by 1darthvader @ deviantART