The people who are working on Star Wars: Episode VII have steadily begun to reveal details on their plans for production on the film. That includes Episode VII director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) - talking about the important differences between Star Trek and Star Wars movie aesthetics - or Lucasfilm president and Episode VII producer Kathleen Kennedy weighing in with her thoughts about embracing the public's curiosity, when it comes to learning about the project as it's being put together.
Disney and Lucasfilm have announced their plans to release Episode VII in theaters by Summer 2015, with a new Star Wars movie - be it a subsequent Episode or character spinoff/standalone film - arriving each year thereafter. Hence, over the next six to seven months, we should be getting more solid information about the content and cast for Episode VII; as opposed to, more unofficial confirmations from original trilogy cast members, indicating they are prepared to return to the sci-fi franchise.
Episode VII producer and Bad Robot co-founder, Bryan Burk, has been working the press circuit ahead of Star Trek Into Darkness hitting theaters this month. During an interview with Collider, he had the following update on the production timeline for the seventh live-action Star Wars movie:
“We’re progressing on a schedule to hopefully begin next year, or the beginning of next year, and the location is still kind of floating around in the air all depending on script and a whole bunch of other issues."
Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) has been working away on the Episode VII script for (at least) six months. He is reported to be drawing from his own story treatment, which may or may not be partially based upon those previous treatments written by George Lucas for Episode VII and beyond (well before he made the prequel trilogy, mind you).
Once Abrams agreed to direct Episode VII, he and Arndt began collaborating on the script development, with additional creative input from Kennedy and - when his knowledge of Star Wars lore is needed - Lucas. Point being, Abrams, Arndt and Kennedy are not only active participants in pre-production, they also have agree on everything before progressing to the next step.
Burk emphasized as much, while speaking with Collider:
"As I just said, everything is kind of a free-flowing thing, and when we feel like the story level on this script and everything is really coming together and schedules are all working and pieces line up, we prowl ahead, and Star Wars will be no different.”
The early 2014 start date for Episode VII sounds reasonable, seeing how it will give Abrams about a year and a half to shoot, edit and promote the blockbuster, similar to the amount of time he was allotted for Star Trek Into Darkness. However, whereas that sci-fi flick ended up taking longer than expected to evolve beyond the screenwriting stage, there's no reason to doubt that Disney is keeping a close eye on the situation - to ensure the new Star Wars movie continues moving down the assembly line at the pace it desires.
Star Wars: Episode VII is slated to open in theaters by Summer 2015.