The unspoken plea of Star Wars fans around the world right now is that with Episode VII Disney will do right by the legacy George Lucas began in 1977 with A New Hope. Please no lazy cash-grabbing. Please no Jar Jar Binks-level misjudgments. But how are we meant to take news that the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII still hasn't been completed? Does this mean J.J. Abrams and fellow screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan are meticulously hammering out the final details of a thoughtfully prepared script? Or is Disney scrambling to get the story cemented before production begins this spring?
Disney chairman Alan Horn shared the news that the script isn't yet finished while speaking at a "Dealmakers Breakfast" event hosted by Variety this morning. While there's no direct quote, Variety reporter Marc Grasser shared this informative summary Tweet, which was picked up by /Film:
Then there's a promise of a string of Star Wars spin-offs:
Unfortunately, these tweets don't give us an indication as to how far along the Episode VII script is, or even if the film's development is on schedule. Nonetheless, little snippets of information have been falling into place. Following Disney's announcement that Episode VII would be made and set to debut in 2015, rumors flew about who might helm the hotly-anticipated sequel. Then in January of 2013, Star Trek director J.J. Abrams leaped from one universe-traversing franchise for another, settling into Episode VII's director's chair. Next came wild speculation about what might be next for Luke, Leia and Han, and since we've run into way more questions than answers.
If Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill return, what would it mean? Would the next chapter have Luke starting a Jedi academy? Or maybe it would focus on Luke and Leia's kids? Will Emperor Palpatine be back in play somehow? What about the Millennium Falcon? Then, of course, there's been the casting rumors, which have included everyone from Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron and Jonathan Rhys Meyers to Magic Mike's Alex Pettyfer, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer's Rachel Hurd-Wood, Doctor Who's Matt Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo, Michael B. Jordan, Saoirse Ronan, and Chloe Moretz.
Casting has reportedly already begun, with producers looking not only at stars like those above but also at video auditions from newcomers. "But wait!" you might be thinking. "If people are auditioning, that means there are pages of a script written!" That's sound logic, but you have to remember we're talking about one of the biggest movie franchises the world has ever seen, being continued by a man famous for his infuriating mystery box tactics. My bet is those sides being auditioned with are similar to those Joss Whedon gave out for Cabin in the Woods, which is to say they give the casting director an insight into whether a performer is right for the part without having anything in particular to do with the actual film aside from tone and genre. Whatever percentage of the script is written is being kept safely guarded for now.
But hey! Last month we learned the beloved beeping droid R2-D2 would definitely be returning to the franchise. Slowly but surely some of Episode VII's secrets are being revealed. With filming beginning in the spring, we should get casting confirmations before long, and with them more details will inevitably surface.
Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to hit theaters on December 18th, 2015.