|Star Wars Episode VII|
At least $200 million (estimated)
- "It's an original story."
- ―A Lucasfilm source, speaking about the plot for Star Wars Episode VII
Star Wars Episode VII is the planned seventh live-action theatrical installment in the Star Wars film franchise. It will be directed by J.J. Abrams, with a screenplay by Michael Arndt, Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. The film will not be an adaptation of any previous Expanded Universe stories, but will instead have an original story. Following The Walt Disney Company's October 30, 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas, Disney announced that Star Wars Episode VII is scheduled to be released on December 18, 2015, to be followed by Episodes VIII and IX. George Lucas will remain involved as a creative consultant on the new Star Wars feature films.
- "I've consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He's an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn't be in better hands."
- ―George Lucas, on J.J. Abrams
On October 30, 2012, The Walt Disney Company announced that it had purchased Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind the creation of the Star Wars franchise, from its owner, Star Wars creator George Lucas, for $4.05 billion. The acquisition came in the wake of Lucas's announced retirement on May 31, and the subsequent June 1 announcement that veteran film producer Kathleen Kennedy was succeeding Lucas as Lucasfilm's Co-Chair. As part of the merger, Disney revealed that it planned to release a new sequel trilogy of films, beginning in 2015, that would include the long-awaited Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. Lucas will remain involved as a creative consultant, with Kennedy serving as executive producer.
Star Wars Episode VII has already been in development for several months as of the Disney–Lucasfilm merger. Lucas has written the story treatments for each of the three upcoming films. Kennedy said shortly after the announcement that the development team was in the process of sitting down with writers to discuss story ideas. According to a Lucasfilm source, the basis for Star Wars Episode VII will be an original story, rather than taking inspiration from previous Expanded Universe content, such as author Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy of novels, which chronologically follows the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in the Star Wars canon.
Lucasfilm confirmed on November 9 that pre-production had began on Star Wars Episode VII, and that screenwriter Michael Arndt will write the script for the film. News outlets first reported Arndt's involvement on November 8, announcing that, according to insiders, Arndt has already turned in a forty-to-fifty-page story treatment that will reportedly bring the Skywalker family saga to a close in a new trilogy. Reports first announced on January 24, 2013 that J.J. Abrams, known for his work on the television series Lost and the most recent entries in the Star Trek film series, will direct Star Wars Episode VII. StarWars.com confirmed the reports the following day.
According to reports, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg will co-produce all three films of the upcoming sequel trilogy. Kasdan and Kinberg will also reportedly share writing responsibilities for both Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX, although the exact division of roles has yet to be determined. Kasdan originally wrote the screenplays for both Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. StarWars.com confirmed Kasdan's and Kinberg's involvement as project consultants for Star Wars Episode VII on January 25.
During a concert with the Young Musician's Foundation Debut Orchestra on February 9, composer John Williams stated that he was hoping to get the chance to write the musical scores for the entire new trilogy. Abrams made further statements on this at a Star Trek Into Darkness conference on April 29, stating, "Again, for Star Wars, it’s very early days, but I believe that, going forward, John Williams will be doing that film because he was there long before I was." On July 27, 2013, a video of Williams confirming he would score the new film was screened at Star Wars Celebration Europe II.
Mark Hamill commented about the sequels in late February 2013 stating that "they are talking to us" and he is scheduled to meet with writer Michael Arndt and Kathleen Kennedy. Hamill stated that so far nobody has signed a contract though there appears to be interest in the entire cast. Hamill went on to say that George Lucas would like to get Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels back for the new films as well. Mark Hamill feels that he will return to be "an Obi-Wan type role." 
In March 2013, Fisher confirmed she will return as Princess Leia. A day later Lucas confirmed that Hamill, Ford and Fisher were in the final stages of negotiations and that all three were in discussions to return prior to the Disney sale. Lucas then said, "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. I won't say whether the negotiations were successful or not".
In May 2013, it was revealed that production of Episode VII would take place in the United Kingdom. All of the six other movies of the Star Wars franchise had been partly produced in the U.K., notably in the Elstree, Shepperton, Leavesden, Ealing and Pinewood studios. Michael Kaplan, who designed the costumes for Abrams' Star Trek films has also signed on to costume Episode VII. Daniel Mindel, Abrams's director of photography, will also return to collaborate with the director, meaning the series will return to shooting on 35mm film.
On October 24, 2013, Kasdan and Abrams were revealed to have been rewriting Arndt's script. On November 7, 2013, Lucasfilm announced that the film would be released on December 18, 2015. On November 9, 2013, it was announced that the Fox fanfare will not be in the opening of Star Wars Episode VII. On November 19, 2013, StarWars.com confirmed that R2-D2 will appear in the film. The droid model has been provided and will be overseen by members of the R2 Builders Club.
Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn revealed on December 13, 2013, that the estimated budget for Star Wars Episode VII will be at least $200 million. At a Television Critics Association press tour on January 19, 2014, Abrams announced that the script for Episode VII had been finished and that the movie was going "full steam ahead" and in "deep pre-production." He also confirmed rumors of him talking with Breaking Bad actor Jesse Plemons. The following day, on January 20, 2014, Carrie Fisher gave an interview to TV Guide and mentioned that she, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill would all be reporting to work in March or April. As with previous information by Fisher, this has yet to be verified by Lucasfilm.
During an interview promoting the 2014 remake of RoboCop, actor Gary Oldman confirmed with Sky Movies that he was indeed approached for a role in the upcoming film. Other actors such as Ewan McGregor and Billy Dee Williams have expressed interest in returning, though no official statement has been released regarding their involvement.
- "I've learned to be very careful about Star Wars. If I say, 'There will be no skateboards in Star Wars'... that gets headlines."
- ―Alan Horn, Disney Chairman
On March 17, 2014, StarWars.com announced that Episode VII would begin principal photography at Pinewood Studios in May 2014, and would be set approximately thirty years after the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. They also confirmed that the film will star a trio of young leading actors alongside "some very familiar faces." On April 5, 2014, it was revealed that filming on Star Wars Episode VII had already begun, with second unit work taking place in Iceland and Abu Dhabi.
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
- DISNEY TO ACQUIRE LUCASFILM LTD. - The Walt Disney Company
- "Shaping the Past"—Star Wars Insider 145
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 146
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 147
- "Bad to the Bib"—Star Wars Insider 147
- "Creature Creator"—Star Wars Insider 147
- "Bantha Tracks"—Star Wars Insider 148
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 149
Notes and references
- Star Wars: A look back at Year One of the Disney regime - EW.com
- George Lucas Spent a Year Developing 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Before Lucasfilm Sale
- The Walt Disney Studios >> Press Release