Amidst rumors that Star Wars: Episode VII is gearing up for a 2016 release date announcement, Disney CEO Bob Iger demands a firm 2015 release date be locked in place, which has sent director J.J. Abrams and his creative crew scrambling to make a movie.
This news comes on the heels of the recent announcement that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have taken over screenwriting duties from Michael Arndt, who is no longer with the production. Wednesday marked the one year anniversary of Disney buying LucasFilm, and in those 356 days, Arndt was unable to get the story approved for shooting. Sources continue to state this morning that the screenplay is still nowhere near ready to go, as Abrams and Kasdan, who wrote Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, are in a mad rush to hammer out something suitable for production.
Anyone who followed Star Trek Into Darkness during its shoot will remember that cast and crew complained constantly about the screenplay not being ready before it went in front of cameras. And that the story was changing day to day on set. This resulted in a movie quite a few fans were unhappy with. Despite its lack of intelligence in presenting plausible science fact and logic, it did manage to garner high critical praise and a healthy cinema score upon its release this past summer. But it has since been called the worst Star Trek movie in the franchise. Could we see the same thing happen with Star Wars: Episode VII?
Producer Kathleen Kennedy, along with most of her creative team, have begged Disney to push the release date to 2016. But according to sources inside the production, Bob Iger has refused to budge. This has caused a tremendous amount of pressure and stress for all involved.
Its also being reported that Michael Arndt, who worked on the screenplay exclusively since last October and had a 50 page treatment ready to go before Lucasfilm was sold to Disney, left on his own accord to work on other projects, because no one could agree on the story enough to move forward. He is one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood, and he decided his talents could be better placed elsewhere. Rumor has J.J. Abrams scrapping the Michael Arndt draft completely to focus on an entirely different set of characters.
Tied into this, other sources say that casting is causing a problem, and that J.J. Abrams has sidestepped Kathleen Kennedy in finding the prefect people for these undisclosed roles at hand. Some dispute that rumor, saying that they are both working together to find the perfect cast, and that they are in sync, and working to meet Disney's 2015 deadline. This is allowing for a zero margin of error, and it will 'come at all costs'.
According to those within Bob Iger's inner circle, the CEO is standing firm on his 2015 release date, because he has already worked out a strategic game plan that hinges on Star Wars: Episode VII hitting screens that summer. If it fails to do so, it will put his six year plan in jeopardy, which will see Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX released in that time, along with at least two spin-offs still to be written by Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg, that will be released in-between the sequel trilogy.
Still, yet another insider has stepped forward, saying that this is all being stirred up to cause drama, and that there are no problems with the creative side of the movie at all.
"It's nothing out of the ordinary. Almost every big movie changes writers at some point. There's no drama here."
Where do you stand on this? Do you think LucasFilm should hold out until 2016 to ensure a good movie? Or is J.J. Abrams just going to screw it all up anyway, no matter how much time he is allowed?