Rumor: Struggle over Episode VII release date continues behind the scenes

STAR WARS RUMORS: Take seriously at your own riskToday, Latino Review’s Da7e Gonzales claims that there’s indeed a struggle behind the scenes to push Episode VII back to May 2016, with JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy on one side and Disney’s Bob Iger on the other. (As we’ve heard before – but from LR, so.) Their bargaining tool? Harrison Ford’s leg, which I think has more press than rest of the cast combined at this point.

Of course we know Lucasfilm is still sticking to December 18, 2015 – but then, they would be. That is the release date – at the moment, anyway.

There are a thousand other considerations when a huge corporation like Disney is involved, but from the fan end, would any of us really object to May, if it comes to pass? I’d certainly prefer it, but the movie’s release date was never going to be my hill to die on.

In any case, this paragraph in particular makes the upmost sense to me:

The franchise and it’s spinoff films will likely be big no matter what, but the value of owning Star Wars is owning the bottomless well of potential money and that means plugging into nostalgia. Star Wars as a franchise can’t pull a Rise/Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and drastically change tones, Star Wars can’t reboot. Star Wars is continuous. Kathleen Kennedy cannot have an Episode VII that botches the handoff between Star Was and Star Is.

Star Wars may not really need to be ‘fixed’ after the prequels – I’m not even a big prequel fan and I think it’s silly to say the franchise was ‘broken’ by them – but there is a perception issue in the mainstream. The mainstream thought the prequels were bad. We can argue about whether that’s been softening until the cows come home, but the fact remains that the perception is there and it’s still plenty powerful. It still, to this day, colors how many people see Star Wars.

Kennedy needs to usher Star Wars into something that can last for Disney. She knows they can’t afford to stick the landing by releasing a rushed, subpar Episode VII with the future of the franchise hanging in the balance.

Episode VII will make Disney millions, maybe billons, not matter when it’s released or how good (or bad) it is. No matter what movie it opens against. But if Star Wars is going to last beyond a third trilogy, it’s going to need some careful cultivation. There are a whole lot of people to convince, and most of them aren’t those of us who follow every drip and drabble of news, or who know that just using the terms ‘bad’ and ‘prequels’ in the same sentence will lead to a tedious debate in certain company. Lucasfilm and Disney both need the mainstream, and they need to convince them that Star Wars is, and can be, ‘good’ again.

Of course, this story of an internal struggle and using an old man’s innocent leg as a bargaining chip is only a rumor, and none of this may pan out in any way; You know the drill. And even if it is true, plenty of great films have come from crazier turmoil than this. We simply won’t know until the movie actually comes out – whenever that ends up being.

8 thoughts on “Rumor: Struggle over Episode VII release date continues behind the scenes

  1. Duke

    Of course, the chumps at LR also got fooled by a fake script written by a fanboy, and won’t admit doing so despite pulling that article, so grains of salt and all that…

    Reply
  2. Shadadukal

    While I don’t have a problem with May 2016 per se, this month already at least has Cap 3 and Bat vs Supes off the top of my head so Disney would probs feel iffy with putting SW VII here as well.

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    1. Dunc Post author

      Yeah, and that’s something that’s already been discussed to death. If it was any franchise BUT Star Wars, maybe I could see it as more of an issue.

      Let the superheroes have one end of the month (CA3 and BvS will battle it out on May 6) and give SW the other. That does mean JJ doesn’t get the 4th, but oh well. Free publicity, release a special trailer on Cap, crowd goes wild.

      You know what Disney has scheduled for May 27? The sequel to the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp Alice in Wonderland. The first one clearly made money, but not Star Wars money, (Granted, they both grossed over $300M, but ROTS out-earned domestically it five years earlier and WITHOUT cheating extra 3D dollars) and I don’t know who’s asking for a sequel. It’ll do fine, even though Johnny Depp is Disney’s current king of diminished returns, but it won’t do like Star Wars. Move that.

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      1. Shadadukal

        Films that have no fannish followings will get sequels, e.g. Avatar if they’ve made money. (In all my fannish circle, I only know of one person who’s liked that film.) Of course, TPTB care about the casual viewer more than the fannish viewer so that explains that.

        Yes, moving that film to make room for Ep VII would be great. It’s of course assuming that Cap 3 and Bat vs Supes stay put. One of them may decide to move.

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        1. Dunc Post author

          Alice made money, but it’s not exactly the lynchpin of a huge franchise, unless you count ‘Johnny Depp plays Jack Sparrow in different outfits’ as a franchise.

          Yeah, Disney won’t want SW too close to Cap, but I wouldn’t worry that much about BvS, even if does move. And if either of them moves now, for reasons outside of huge production problems or Chris Evans/Ben Affleck falling off a building, it’s going to be seen as ‘standing down’ from the fight. I think the only way you’ll see anyone budge is if Abrams does get his supposed wish – and I bet SW is a hell of a lot scarier to BvS than Cap is, since the only thing BvS really has going for it is name recognition – something SW does NOT lack. But it would still be seen as Cap admitting an early defeat and Disney pulling out a bigger gun ‘in fear,’ so I think Alice is probably the more likely move… IF anything happens.

  3. Aaron

    First off, I don’t believe this story. I think that Iger, Kennedy and Abrams are way too professional to play these kinds of games.
    But if it were true, the simple truth would still be: They can’t postpone again. They did it once to accommodate the never-ending script-writing process, but Iger promised his shareholders that there would be a Star Wars movie in 2015. How can he go back on his word over a mere broken leg?
    In that case, Abrams and Kennedy should just suck it up and deliver the film they promised to deliver by the end of 2015. That’s their job. That’s their responsibility. If they can get it done without cgi-ing Harrison Ford, great. If not, too bad. Just get the film done, be it with Harrison Ford’s leg or without it. It won’t get easier after Episode VII, and if Kennedy/Abrams can’t deliver, Disney will certainly find somebody who can.

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  4. Riley

    There is still 1 year, 5 months, 4 days between now and the Dec. 18, 2015 release date. No reason why they can’t finish filming (even with the announced 2 week hiatus in filming in August) and do all the special effects and post-production during that time frame.

    If they push it off to May 25, 2016 (a Wednesday per tradition), then it would be 1 year, 10 months, 11 days from now or 5 months, 7 days after the current release date.

    Should they want to release it on May 4, 2016 (also a Wednesday), why not push Captain America 3 off to Memorial Day weekend? Star Wars gets “May the Fourth” and is scifi counter-programming to the superhero Batman v. Superman and then Cap 3 gets a patriotic holiday. Win-win for Disney and lose for WB.

    Reply

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