Kathleen Kennedy Admits 'Star Wars: Episode VII' May Not Hit in 2015
Following the official news that J.J. Abrams had been hired by Disney to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, there have been talks that the Star Trek reboot filmmaker might not be committed to bringing the film to theaters in 2015 as was originally expected. This was mostly speculation and conjecture, but now THR has published a profile on Lucasfilm's new head honcho Kathleen Kennedy and she tapdances, "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.” That's good news, especially since cracking the story is what got Abrams signed to direct Star Wars.
Though we knew Abrams had taken himself out of the running, we haven't heard how Lucasfilm's offer to the director had went down. Once the job ran across Abrams desk, the filmmaker said he was too engrossed in Star Trek Into Darkness (and several TV projects at Bad Robot) to think about getting involved with Star Wars. But still, Abrams agreed to take a meeting with Kennedy at his production offices and Kennedy basically pitched him, "Please do Star Wars." Abrams became interested as a consultant on the project once he learned that Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan were part of the writing process, and that seems to be what started his tumble down the womprat hole.
Abrams told THR, "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.” And even though Kennedy says Abrams "was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already,” he had "very genuine concerns" about the rest of his commitments, especially how this would impact time with his wife and kids with the film more than likely heading to London to shoot. But even a filmmaker like Abrams isn't beyond anxiety. Kennedy says, "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.”
In the end, all it took was for Abrams to get immersed in Star Wars again while consulting on the story. Kennedy says, "We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful Star Wars is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter." And finally, after hours of meeting and an entire day of negotiations, Abrams closed the deal on January 25th. Right up until then, Abrams was still saying that he was mulling it over, and there's even a chance that Abrams could fall out before production begins, but Kennedy is confident they have him locked.
But now the question remains as to whether or not Abrams will try to meet the 2015 release window. After all, he pushed Star Trek Into Darkness because he felt it wasn't ready. Though, considering it will have taken Abrams about a year and a half from principal photography to release to get the Star Trek sequel into theaters, that allows pretty much this whole year to develop the story and prepare a script to be ready to shoot by January 2014 if they plan a summer 2015 release. Either way, we don't want them to rush. We'll likely hear more on Star Wars: Episode VII soon, so stay tuned for any updates.