There is an undeniable air of optimism surrounding J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The return of practical effects and the crews' respect for the franchise, not to mention an incredible marketing push, have done plenty to quell any unease about a new entry in the series. As the final months before its release tick by, the growing anticipation for the film is nearing critical mass.
With the excitement of The Force Awakens' impending release, it's easy to forget the rumored troubles from early in the film's production. At the time, there were rumblings that most of the creators behind the film were at odds with Disney CEO Robert Iger regarding the film's release date. News of Harrison Ford's injury on the set only fueled speculation that Episode VII would inevitably be delayed.
We now know that isn't the case and regardless of any disagreements about the release date, Abrams is happy with his current relationship with Disney. The Star Wars director joined Apple designer Jony Ive in a talk moderated by Brian Grazer for Vanity Fair (Via Indiewire) and discussed his working relationship with the Mouse House.
Abrams confirmed that he does have the final cut of the film, but noted that there's a clause in his contract that would allow Disney to ultimately take control of the project. That clause is not at all unexpected, given the amount of money Disney has put into the film and the Star Wars acquisition. However, he maintains that "they let us make the movie we wanted to make," and goes so far as to call Iger an "incredible collaborator," who "mandates nothing" on the project.
"I cannot say enough about how [Robert] Iger and Alan Horn have understood this thing that is now part of the Disney company. And they're not trying to Disney-fy it. They're not doing anything other than, I think, an incredibly smart thing, which is letting Kathleen Kennedy -- who is a remarkable person and producer -- run and lead Lucasfilm to a place where I think it wants to go."
As with any high-profile project, there's fear the studio won't trust its creators and will step in to alter the course of the project. Time and again, studio meddling has led to disastrous changes to a film (though there are examples of the opposite, as well). Thankfully, at least according to Abrams, that is not the case for Star Wars. Putting faith in the obviously talented team behind the upcoming film is a smart move by Disney and should only further increase the sense of optimism surrounding The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.