The title card that precedes every Star Wars movie promises a story that takes place, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …" Now we’re learning that there is a creative struggle going on behind the scenes to figure out HOW long, and how far, far away the next Star Wars movie might actually be.
The latest Star Wars update can be found in The Hollywood Reporter, which says that sources close to the project report that producer Kathleen Kennedy asked for an extension after the departure of screenwriter Michael Arndt, but was denied. The report says that Kennedy fought for a 2016 release date for the upcoming Episode VII, but Disney CEO Robert Iger is "adamant" that the sequel arrives in theaters in 2015 (as announced), and that director J.J. Abrams in on the same page.
Some sources say Abrams has become autocratic in recent months, wresting some casting control from Kennedy. But others disputed that notion, saying Abrams and Kennedy both have been involved in casting sessions. Unlike Kennedy, Abrams is said to be more in sync with Iger's desire to meet the 2015 release target -- which allows zero margin for error -- at all costs.
That phrase – "zero margin for error" – would terrify a filmmaker racing to meet ANY deadline, let alone one involving a Star Wars movie that has been anointed by a fan base (and an industry) as the movie that has to rescue, revive and restore a once great franchise. Talk about inhuman pressure! It increases tenfold when you couple this uncertainty with the knowledge that Disney and LucasFilm are looking at Episode VII as the launchpad for a new trilogy as well as standalone single-serving movies that are expected to be penned by Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Though as we have learned with Star Wars movies, news can change multiple times.
This speaks to a problem that I think is seriously messing with the tentpole culture in Hollywood. Studios aren’t developing movies, then figuring out where they slate on a release calendar. They instead are circling weekends - -as Sony recently did with Spider-Man, and Marvel does all the time – then demanding that directors race to meet those deadlines, come Hell or high water. That’s no way to create!
Kennedy and Abrams might be painted into an uncomfortable corner. Postponing Star Wars to 2016 will raise thousands of red flags with already concerned fans … but don’t you want Abrams to take the necessary amount of time to deliver the best possible Star Wars movie he can? Maybe it’s not a big deal. An insider tells THR that this is "nothing out of the ordinary" and that there’s "no drama here." Do you agree with that? Or when it comes to Star Wars, will there always be drama, positive and negative?