Despite having my love for all things Star Wars reduced dramatically to the status of a favorite childhood toy I needed sorrily to let go, I am holding out a little hope for Star Wars: Episode VII. J.J. Abrams is a solid director of expansive widescreen excitement and his movies tend to be pretty damn great when the crucial elements are in place. The project’s first writer Michael Arndt was eventually usurped by Lawrence Kasdan, but as Kasdan was widely credited with making the script for The Empire Strikes Back a winner (original scribe Leigh Brackett had a hand in its success too), this news was greeted by the franchise’s die hard fans with jubilation.
In addition to excessive CGI and lifeless performances from an otherwise talented cast, the much-loathed – yet still hugely profitable – prequel trilogy suffered from George Lucas’ deplorable writing. If Abrams’ continued exploration of a galaxy far, far away on the big screen is to be a success at least creatively it’s vital for the screenplay to be in place prior to the start of filming.
Walt Disney Pictures chairman Alan Horn spoke candidly about the future of the Star Wars franchise at an event held by Variety magazine this morning and during his talk he revealed several fascinating new developments in the ongoing Episode VII saga. Variety reporter Marc Graser was in attendance at the event and posted the highlights to his Twitter feed:
Disney expects to get script for Star Wars 7 in January. No budget for movie although studio wouldn't be surprised if it costs $200 million.
Script difficulties and other delays have so far resulted in Episode VII‘s original May 2015 being pushed back seven months to the equally lucrative holiday movie season. Further tweets from Glaser revealed that Horn estimates a new Indiana Jones movie could be 2-3 years away and that coming up with a good story is currently the top priority. An already established desire from Disney for a new Star Wars-related movie every year from Lucasfilm was also discussed.
It’s been just a little over a year since the news that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm and put a new Star Wars movie into their development pipeline hit the industry like an A-bomb detonation, and not even a year since Abrams was announced as Episode VII‘s directorial Jedi Master. I’m relieved to hear that the studio and its hand-picked helmer don’t want to rush the creative process on this project that is being watched like a hawk by everyone in the know and then some. This could still turn out to be a fruitless endeavor but at least it won’t have been for lack of commitment. If the script is finished by Horn’s hoped-for deadline, we can expect major casting announcements to commence.
Come hell or high Bantha poo-doo, Star Wars: Episode VII opens on December 18, 2015.