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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26 comments

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  • Zak-Lee-Ferguson • 3 years ago

    This sounds solid

    reply

    • dan1 • 3 years ago

      I already like K. Kennedy. This all sounds like the right things being said and done.

      reply

      • stefanos • 3 years ago

        I am the only one who did not care about star wars,I care more for Star Trek,now.!

        reply

        • justatadmatt • 3 years ago

          @bawnian-dexeus Totally respect your opinion and I think he could definitely go back to Star Trek AFTER Star Wars or serve as a producer, but I don't believe he'll have the time to do it before...at this point we just have to wait and see...

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          • larmindy • 3 years ago

            Ok, quick question. Is Abrams contracted for 2 Star Trek fims???? As far as I knew he wasn't....SO that being said he can focus on Star Wars, once script- plot even- he can move, the 2015 date was ambitious to sat the least even with a full script ready to go. While I do not see this as a F13th film that sits in limbo for 10 years, I am pretty sure we won't see anything for another 3-5 years.

            And I hope I right, a quality film is what we need.

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            • shuabert • 3 years ago

              Kathleen Kennedy is the best thing to happen to Star Wars in decades.

              reply

              • themoviefanatic • 3 years ago

                As long as the next Star Wars movie and the next Star Trek movie are not rushed, then they will turn out to be good movies when they are released to theaters.

                reply

                • aoshi • 3 years ago

                  @bawnian-dexeus oh, The Avengers record will probably be gone by then, and Star Wars will break that new record for sure. Rising ticket prices, plus all the hype, it will happen.

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                  • bawnian-dexeus • 3 years ago

                    @justatadmatt In cases like these, I like to look at the bright side and think positive on the matter at hand. Ep 7 will be a hit, without a doubt. it could possibly eclipse Avenger's opening. Why? Because of history. The movie could come out in 2020 for all we know and the lines will be there. Assuming there is a chance for Abrams to get back on the director's share for one final Trek movie (if it's only a trilogy or planned expansion), if SW comes first and it's a hit both financially, critically and visually, I would like to think the heads at disney and Mrs. Kennedy can allow, and I do mean, ALLOW him to go back to Star Trek. One man's opinion. If in fact he doesn't come back for it, you can damn well expect his touch to be in the third movie, with the new director just pointing and shooting

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                    • skywise • 3 years ago

                      It sounds like they are going to do the right thing and not worry about getting this out as fast as possible. I applaud K. Kennedy for focusing on story first and with the writers they have in place I feel confident this is going to be awesome.

                      As far as Abrams doing ST3 before Star Wars....dont count on it. Its already been speculated that he may only produce ST3 if the studio just cant wait until he is available to direct. They waited with ST2 I dont see why they wouldn't wait with ST3.

                      reply

                      • justatadmatt • 3 years ago

                        @bawnian-dexeus i totally understand what you and @ejk1 are saying...the "waiting" aspect isn't what I am disagreeing on at all. I just feel like it will be very very difficult for Abrams to continue Star Trek and then move over to Star Wars...yes. he will have a little bit of time before actual pre-production starts while the script is being written, but i can only imagine he would want to use that time to spend with his family (as the article stated)...it's not enough time to make an entirely new Star Trek movie.

                        reply

                        • bawnian-dexeus • 3 years ago

                          @justatadmatt And 4 billion on both Marvel and Licasfilm is nothing compared to their returns in merchandise. As sad and ugly as it sounds, (I'm sure you knot this) their newly acquired brand and films are nothing but expensive advertisement. Why else was Cars 2 made? Racking in over 8 billion in merchandise, 2 billion (or million) annually from Cars Land and its products, plus a tv series vied by 70 million kids. They can wait, trust me.

                          reply

                          • justatadmatt • 3 years ago

                            @ejk1 I agree with you that Disney has been very smart with their properties and will listen to what Abrams says...however, I really don't believe they will allow him to focus on another franchise for another couple of years before focusing on Star Wars...You said he could "finish up" ST3 while he "directs the ongoing movements on Star Wars", but Star Wars is technically further along than ST3 is...at least someone is working on an actual script...would you really want him half-assing his decisions on the set of ST3 going "yeah yeah. just do it that way" for Star Wars? Not going to happen...

                            reply

                            • ejk1 • 3 years ago

                              @justatadmatt Disney will gladly wait. They have the Marvel films, Pirates 5, and whatever Pixar feels like making to hold them over. Disney is not run by idiots. They spent 4 billion dollars to buy the rights of the franchise, and aren't about to butcher it, which is why they spent the bucks on Abrams. If JJ says let's set a release date of 2016, 17, or 18, Disney will consent.

                              reply

                              • bawnian-dexeus • 3 years ago

                                @ejk1 Your points. I like! Another!

                                reply

                                • justatadmatt • 3 years ago

                                  @Roberto-Mata I totally understand what you are saying about worth the wait, but no way he can pump out a new Star Trek AND Star Wars film before 2017...

                                  @ejk1 yes. i read the article. thank you for that. just because 2015 is in jeopardy doesn't mean Disney is going to sit back and let it be postponed another two years...with the universe they are apparently building (spin-offs, etc) there is no way Abrams can continue to focus on Star Trek and then casually move over to Star Wars after...LIKE THE ARTICLE SAID, it's a total commitment.

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                                  • ejk1 • 3 years ago

                                    @narrator To me, it's no big deal. Disney's not gonna drop Abrams after they so vigorously pursued him. Plus, this delay for Star Wars could be until 2016. It could also be until 2018 or 19. There is no timetable at the moment, and quite frankly, I'm glad there isn't. Look at it this way: You're concerned that he'd rush through ST3 in order to squeeze it in before SW7, but by sticking him with a 2015 release, weren't they forcing him to rush through SW7? There's no finished script, no actor picked, and a ton of special effect details to work out. This delay gives Abrams plenty of time to take his time and get it right, and along the way, if he can finish up ST3, sweet. Abrams can be on set for ST3 while directing the ongoing movements of SW7, which should get the slow and special treatment.

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                                    • bawnian-dexeus • 3 years ago

                                      Persuasive,? A check book can do amazing things my friend

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                                      • narrator • 3 years ago

                                        My concern with your proposition, @ejk1, is that he'd rush Trek3 if he tried to squeeze it in before Episode VII. After all, there's nothing to say that Disney won't move on to someone else if he isn't ready for it. Honestly, Trek3 is but a blip on my radar compared to a new installment of Star Wars by someone other than Lucas.

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                                        • ejk1 • 3 years ago

                                          @justatadmatt Did you read the article? It says 2015 is in doubt. There's no real difference between 2016 and 2017 to me. I waited over fifteen years for Episode 1, and received a piece of garbage. I can wait an extra year if it means a better film this time around.

                                          reply

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