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.