With pre-production in full-swing, a confirmed release date of December 18, 2015, has been set for Lucasfilm's highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII.

      "We're very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture," said Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

      Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek) and is being scripted by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi). Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Jack Ryan, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin,War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.
      Shooting is scheduled to begin spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios.

      via StarWars.com
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      Comments 7 Comments
      1. bigbarada's Avatar
        bigbarada -
        Wow, a December release for a Star Wars movie. I did not see that one coming.

        I wonder if the trend of releasing big-budget films overseas first, then in the US a few days later will continue? How frustrating would that be for American Star Wars fans?
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        It's a little unexpected, but it makes sense. The summer release schedule was already going to be incredibly overstuffed, including several of Disney's own huge movies. Lucasfilm has been inching towards the Winter lately with both Red Tails and TPM 3D having come out in the colder parts of early 2012, and Alan Horn mentioned that this is the same day that Avatar was released in 2009 (and a day after Titanic debuted in 1997), so there is precedence for gigantic movies to come out during this time when there's not much competition. Not to mention the fact that the original film was supposed to be a Christmas 1976 release before it got pushed back.

        But I have to wonder how they'll approach the tie-in products? On the one hand, not everyone will be able to see it right away, so kids might not be asking for the toys on their Christmas lists. On the other hand, people that do see it in time could create a rush for the products that would make it twice as difficult for collectors to get what they want. Hmm . . .
      1. Tycho's Avatar
        Tycho -
        The toys will come out earlier.

        Items on the toy packaging will spoil the movie for some - like we'll learn R2D2 turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Sparky and reproduces little Darth Mouse Droids to be his Sith minions. (Sorry if you don't read spoilers - I didn't mean to post that. Wait. Yes I did.)

        Anyway, it is also showing that Disney is breaking the May release of Star Wars movies as a tradition.

        It will also influence how many people die in Hoth-like conditions waiting in line for weeks or months or something. I recommend killing a larger person (or waiting to see if they freeze to death first) then gutting them and sleeping inside their carcass to get the authentic Luke Skywalker experience.

        I am first in line at my theater with only 766 days longer to wait! But I'm in California, so the weather is great for this (but please send non-perishable food and I think I need a new bed-chamber-pot).
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        Star Wars' original release date was December of 1976, so this seems somewhat fitting. That said, um, there's nothing there yet to call a movie, so it's gonna be a stretch to get it done right - Star Trek: The Motion Picture had a holiday release and hit theaters with wet prints on an incomplete film. But in the '70s, the holidays are when big movies came out, the LOTR films and Hobbit films are following suit, so I could see this working out in Disney's favor to return to that pattern. If they do a summer re-release it'd be even better.
      1. Tycho's Avatar
        Tycho -
        The original release in December? How did the hype about May start?
      1. bigbarada's Avatar
        bigbarada -
        The movie was originally scheduled to be released in December 1976, but it was delayed until May 1977. The novelization made it out in 1976, however.
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        When the movie missed key production deadlines by leaps and bounds, Lucas asked for more money to complete the picture. Fox gave it to him despite the majority of the board having no faith in the project, and extended the release date out to summer. The original cut of the film was a disaster and the editor was fired, bringing in Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch as well as George Lucas' wife Marcia, herself an accomplished editor cutting on a Scorsese film at the time. George used some of that money to do reshoots of the cantina scene and a few other Tatooine scenes, driving to one of those reshoots is where Mark Hamill got into his face-altering car accident.

        Then it was ILM who had wasted tons of time and money experimenting and building and flailing, they were delivering shots up until the last week (Lucas was remixing the film's audio for different types of projector needs AFTER the film was out, so you can see how poorly the pacing of post-production was - you can bet Disney won't be allowing that on this new film).

        When the film was getting closer to its summer release date, Fox felt the movie would get clobbered by other summer films and moved it up to Memorial Day, which wasn't as competitive a release date back then - the only other film to come out around Star Wars was Smokey and the Bandit. SW was picked up by only 32 theaters and even that required some level of bargaining, Fox's other big film of the summer having been the carrot to take the Star Wars stick - that film, The Other Side of Midnight, was highly anticipated due to its recent successful novel and the idea that it was "mature, artistic smut" which people would want, so Star Wars was forced onto theaters who wanted prints of The Other Side of Midnight for its June '77 release. Star Wars was an instant mega-hit while The Other Side of Midnight tanked at the box office, proving studios don't know much.
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