Bob Iger signs on to Disney through 2018. He’s been CEO since 2005, and is the guy behind the Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm acquisitions. Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy has occasionally come up as a wild card to succeed him.
Today, 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.
Bob Iger confirms third spin-off film. At today’s Disney earnings call, chairman Bob Iger said they have “at least three” standalone Star Wars films in mind. No details, naturally.
We know Peter Mayhew is in, and that is a very good, dare I say, screen-ready Chewbacca… Though it was Alan Horn, not Bob Iger, that we know for sure would be in London around this time. But if this was a (new?) theme park Chewie, wouldn’t they have someone in it? And why would they post it on the official Star Wars Instagram instead of a Parks one? So yes, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe this is the Episode VII Chewbacca costume!
Noteworthy: StarWars.com’s Matt Martin says “The image was supplied to is without much context. No idea where/when it was taken.” And the official (well, verified) @StarWarsUK account says it is from Episode VII, but Matt says it was only speculation on their part. Curious.
Or, the grass is green, but if you’re keeping track, here are the pertinent remarks from the Disney earnings call earlier this week, via Yahoo.
“In addition to the Star Wars feature films that we’ve already talked about, we’re also working on opportunities for television and our parks,” Iger said. “It’s still very early in the process. We’ll announce details as these developments evolve.”
The events of the past month have made it clear that Star Wars is undergoing a major shift, and it’s made a lot of fans question the Disney sale. And those words – the “Disney sale” – are part of the problem. The sale is over and done with. What we’re going through now is more jarring, and a lot more ambitious. We’re going through a Star Wars reboot.
Bob Iger was talking Lucasfilm on CNBC again, and he told them that there’s still no decision on bringing back the original actors. Or rather, that despite George Lucas’ comments last week, “We haven’t made an official announcement yet.” Indeed.
He does say that there have been “discussions” with the actors, but they’re waiting on Arndt’s script to make a final decision.
In a great story on the Lucasfilm acqusition by Disney in Bloomberg Businessweek, George Lucas more or less admits that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are returning for the new movies:
Asked whether members of the original Star Wars cast will appear in Episode VII and if he called them before the deal closed to keep them informed, Lucas says, “We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ ” He pauses. “Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.” Then he adds: “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”
That may be the big news out of this, but the article itself is a must-read on the process, with extensive input from Lucas and Bob Iger.
Disney CEO Bob Iger dropped a couple of bombs on us this afternoon regarding future Star Wars movies.
Lucasfilm is working on ‘a few’ standalone films featuring existing characters – but not part of the overall saga. Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are working on them – thus confirming the second half of an older rumor.
Iger said that Disney and Lucasfilm hope to make Episodes VII-IX over “a six-year period.” They’re still aiming for a 2015 release, but “a few other films” will be released “in that period of time.” Bryan Young speculates that this likely means we’ll be getting a Star Wars film on a yearly basis, which is in line with sister studio Pixar’s output
UPDATE: StarWars.com adds that Kasdan and Kinberg are working on two films separately, each focusing “on a specific character,” and that they’re both expected to come out after Episode VII.
Iger declined to name any specific characters, so the Yoda film still remains strictly a rumor – but certainly a far more likely one now. I’d also place bets on Boba Fett getting his own movie – but if it keeps him (and his director fanboys) out of further Episodes, that’s a price I will (grudgingly) pay.