The ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Pitch That Landed J.J. Abrams Is Revealed; 2015 Release Might Be Delayed

Kathleen Kennedy talks about her intense day of negotiations with the director, and what it took for him to sign on.
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The ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Pitch That Landed J.J. Abrams Is Revealed; 2015 Release Might Be Delayed

Star Wars: Episode VII may not hit theaters in 2015 There are a few things we know for certain in regards to Star Wars: Episode VII. One is that Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) is writing the screenplay, and, last week, it was officially confirmed that J.J. Abrams has signed on to direct.

When Disney announced that Star Wars: Episode VII is actually happening, the studio mentioned that they were aiming for a 2015 release date. According to producer Kathleen Kennedy, that is not exactly the case, as of now. Here's what she had to say in a recent interview, revealing they are more interested in getting the story right than hitting a release date.

"Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we'll see what happens. The timetable we care about is getting the story."

The confirmation of J.J. Abrams took many by surprise, since the filmmaker revealed in November that he was not interested in taking on the franchise. Kathleen Kennedy took the first step in securing the director during a December 19 meeting, where her pitch was simple.

"Please do Star Wars."

J.J. Abrams was "flipping out" upon learning that Michael Arndt was on board to write the script, and Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, was serving as a consultant.

"J.J was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door."

Kathleen Kennedy also indicated that the filmmaker had "very genuine concerns" about taking on this massive project, because it would likely mean he would spend a lot of time away from his wife and three kids, since it likely will not be shot in Los Angeles.

"If there was any pause on J.J.'s part, it was the same pause everybody has -- including myself -- stepping into this. Which is, it's daunting."

The producer also discussed what they spoke about at that meeting.

"We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful Star Wars is and the depth of the mythology that George (Lucas) has created and how we carry that into the next chapter."

After a day of "furious negotiation," J.J. Abrams signed on to direct Star Wars: Episode VII on Friday, January 25. Here's what the filmmaker had to say about how persuasive Kathleen Kennedy is.

"I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is. The thing about any pre-existing franchise -- I'd sort of done that. But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing."

With the script currently being written, it isn't quite clear on when exactly cameras will begin to roll on Star Wars: Episode VII.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to theaters December 18th, 2015.

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