It's been over a year since The Walt Disney Company hit sci-fi fans with the double-whammy of announcements that the company had purchased Lucasfilm and was planning a brand new Star Wars trilogy. We've (more or less) finished reeling by now and Star Wars fans have been patiently waiting for more official news amidst a storm of casting rumors and story speculation.
Now an update from Disney Chairman Alan Horn has offered an explanation as to why no names have been named aside from director J.J. Abrams, who is rewriting Michael Arndt's (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) original script draft along with Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back). Horn also gave an update (of sorts) on the Indiana Jones franchise and how soon fans might see Indiana Jones 5.
Horn was speaking at Variety's Dealmakers Breakfast today, and Variety editor Marc Graser shared a few tidbits that were dropped regarding the development stages of the two Lucasfilm franchises. Unsurprisingly, the Star Wars franchise is priority number one with Disney expecting at least one new Star Wars film every year, including spin-offs.
The Star Wars movies got a lot more expensive to produce between the original trilogy and the most recent sequels, and while no budget for Star Wars: Episode VII has yet been fixed, Horn said that he wouldn't be surprised if it cost $200 million. That's a big step up from the humble $11 million sci-fi movie that George Lucas directed in 1977, but a bigger budget won't guarantee a better film.
As for Indiana Jones 5, we wouldn't advise Indy fans to start holding their breath for the next movie. Horn said flatly that aside from assuming full control of the franchise, "We haven’t done anything... We don’t have a story. We need a story.” He hazarded a guess that it would be at least two or three years before a fifth Indiana Jones film comes out, but considering how fully engaged Lucasfilm is with the Star Wars universe, we estimate it will probably be longer than that.
Finally, for those who might have been concerned that Marvel Studios' place under the Disney wing might be impacting upon the creative freedoms of the various writers, producers and directors involved with building the Marvel universe, Horn made it plain that the profitability of Marvel's films has spared them from any kind of overhead interference. When asked what his plans for Marvel are, he joked, "I plan to bring them coffee."
Star Wars: Episode VII is out in theaters on December 18th, 2015.