J.J. Abrams Says New STAR WARS Release Date Is “a Huge Improvement”; Explains Reluctance to Shoot in London

by     Posted 333 days ago

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J.J. Abrams has mastered the art of talking without really saying anything at all.  Of course, he’s had lots of practice working on the mystery-laden Lost and two Star Trek films, but those feel like cake walks compared to the amount of information he has to keep under wraps on the hugely anticipated new Star Wars film.  Abrams has not really talked at length about Episode VII, and when he does discuss the film he does so very, very carefully.  Such is the case with today’s interview, in which Abrams “talks” about the new release date for Episode VII and his initial reluctance to shoot the film in London.  Hit the jump to read on.

star-wars-7-j-j-abramsAt the same time that Disney announced it was purchasing Lucasfilm and planning a new trilogy of Star Wars films, the studio revealed that the first movie would be in theaters by 2015.  Despite not having a script or a director, Star Wars: Episode VII was under a ticking clock from the word “go.”

As 2015 loomed closer, reports started to swirl that Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy were unhappy with this timeline and wanted to ensure that they could make the best film possible, even asking Disney for a reprieve to 2016.  The studio didn’t budge, but a sort of compromise was made in which Episode VII would break from tradition and open on December 18, 2015 instead of the Star Wars month of May.  Speaking with MTV, Abrams said he’s now happy with the new date as opposed to racing towards a summer release:

“I will say that it is an infinitely better situation now than when they were saying they wanted it in summer [2015].  Before I even came onto the project they were talking about 2015 and they made this announcement very early on—which I understand, and I understand why they would want that, but it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the reality of where anyone was creatively, so I think it’s a hugely important thing that [the creative aspect] come first.  A release date’s great, but you have to release something great.  To me, the new release date is a huge improvement.”

star-wars-7-jj-abrams-r2d2Abrams was tight-lipped for the rest of the interview, refusing to confirm whether C3-P0 would be in the film now that R2-D2 has been announced.  Nevertheless, in speaking with Total Film, Abrams elaborated on his initial reluctance to shoot Star Wars: Episode VII abroad:

“[Filming in London is] something that I’ve always intended to do, but I’m torn because I have done everything I can to keep the production of my projects in Los Angeles. Yet the opportunity to work with UK crews is something that has always been a dream of mine. Of course, that dream existed prior to me being married and having a family, so the reality of making a movie like that for any period of time becomes much more difficult when there are other people that you desperately love and care for involved.”

Abrams’ Bad Robot company has been building new post-production offices in LA so that the filmmaker can return home to complete the pic, but filming will indeed get underway in London early next year.

Finally, Abrams talked briefly about writing the screenplay for Episode VII alongside Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan, now that the two are penning the screenplay themselves based on previous work by Michael Arndt:

“Working with Larry has been one of the most surreal joys of my life. We’ve had a lot of fun working together. He’s an incredible guy and an inspiring and spectacular writer.”

Those are indeed words strung together to make a sentence, but in true Abrams fashion there’s not a hint of anything illuminating about the project itself.  Watch the full MTV interview below.

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  • Northern Star

    I may be misreading Jar Jar Abrams in that interview, but it sounds like if he had his way, Episode VII would be shot in Los Angeles and released in May 2016… but all things considered, the December 18th, 2015 release is “infinitely better” than Disney’s preferred May 22nd, 2015 release, he may not be happy about production happening in London but at least post is in L.A.. so you take what you can get and move on!

    I’ve got a good feeling about this film, the redemption of ‘Star Wars’ begins here hopefully…

    • JujyFruits

      No shit, but every director on every big budget project has deadlines and inconveniences. Deadlines can even help improve some movies

  • Steven Ray Morris

    I don’t think Abrams has to defend himself. He’s got a wife and kids, nobody can blame him if I wanted to stay here in LA.

    • Ched Groundheggin

      I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I say great that you are a family man. On the other hand, I say don’t do the movie if you aren’t 100% committed to doing what is necessary. Spielberg didn’t want to leave the US (including Hawaii) to shoot indy 4, and the move ending up feeling like it was shot on a sound stage or back lot set.

      • Steven Ray Morris

        That’s a very fair point. And you are 100% correct about Indy 4.

    • Gojiro

      Really? He’s getting tens of millions of dollars to make this film with will have a budget of well north of $150 million dollars. If he doesn’t cock it up it has the potential of making $1 billion in theatrical release and adding billions in ancillary licencing fees.

      There’s no crying about being away from home when you’re in the big leagues. If he wants to stay home that badly then get some California Tax Credits, raise some money on Kickstarter and film everything in Westlake Village or grow a pair and realize you’ve been handed the opportunity to make a STAR WARS film.

      • Steven Ray Morris

        It’s just a movie and maybe money isn’t that important to him (considering he’s already so wealthy he could pay people to be his shoes). But yeah, I think I’d be fine taking off for a year. Plus it’s freakin’ London!

      • http://buzzabit.com/aaron/ Aaron Sullivan

        I don’t think another few million is that big a deal to him. It’s just numbers at a certain point. Working on a movie that is such a big deal is valuable, but time with family is a hard limit (and if you love them you want to see them at every stage of life).

  • poppincherry

    Fuck him and this movie. There’s no magic to this guy’s film making. He just produces shit with plot holes so big you can drive a goddamn Range Rover through.

    • Jim

      I find a lot of joy and magic in Super 8, but I actually understand what that movie is about. You obviously missed the point.

  • leslie

    Movie is going to be utter and complete jewish shit, fact.

    • bfg666

      Who cares what a racist sow thinks? Fact.

  • Stacey m

    JJ is full of himself, what a fool he is. He can not tell the truth and say he is a horrible film maker, he is so in denial. Idiot.

    • JPX

      Horrible? How so? Every film he has ever made has kicked major ass (alright, Super 8 was kind of lame). If you don’t like him, who do you like?

  • Lance

    Yeesh. Lot of back bench directing going on here, from people who no doubt have no experience in the field whatsoever.

    Best scenario would have been to move the date to 2016. Dec 2015 is better than May, though. As for whether Abrams is committed enough or not, that’s ridiculous — he knows he’s taken on the biggest project of his life. But in that kind of situation it might help to be able to have the support of friends and family close by, not thousands of miles away.

    Whether the movie is good or bad is probably going to have more to do with whether they had enough time to get the script in really good shape or not more than anything else. When we criticize the prequels, it’s usually not because of editing or effects, it’s usually stuff that happened at the script stage — Jar Jar, midichlorians, trade disputes, and terrible dialogue.

    • Ched Groundheggin

      yeah, script conquers all.

    • bidi

      Clooney said it best: “you can make a shit movie out of a good script, but you can’t make a good movie out of a shit script”

    • bfg666

      Internet + webcam = communication with friends and family. Or better yet, he could bring his wife and kids with him.

      • Josh

        You obviously don’t have kids, or don’t like them. Kids need stability – you don’t drag them around the world out of schools etc. As for internet/webcam, if you love your family, that’s just not enough. Keep in mind, his first answer to doing this project was no. So was his second. They wanted him

      • bfg666

        Sometimes a webcam is the only option you have to keep on communicating with your loved ones. See soldiers sent in distant foreign countries.

        What would be more stable under these circumstances than keeping your family united by bringing them along? Also, don’t they have schools in England?

    • ne

      All JJ Abrams is……is terrible dialogue. Hack

  • The Flobbit

    This is really not very reassuring…

  • the truth

    I do not want this movie to happen. At all! At least get a different director and better script. Let Lawrence Kasdan do the script all by himself. Do not let jj near it, shit this sucks! Star Wars is heading to the toilet and it is too late to get away from it.

    • Lex Walker

      You have to remember, Lawrence Kasdan isn’t exactly invincible when it comes to writing great scripts; he’s given us duds like Dreamcatcher and Darling Companion (which was so painfully, saccharine-ly bad). His glory days seem to be behind him, but man he had some fantastic glory days.

      • bfg666

        Did you actually read these scripts or did you rely on the final products to forge your opinion?

    • bfg666

      JJ has proven he is a very capable director and no-one besides the guys in charge knows the script yet. The only one heading to the toilet is you, moron. There, you can barf your “truth” unnoticed for as long as you like.

  • Sheesh

    I knew disney was going fuck star wars up. Just did not think it would be when they casted their pathetic director. HUGE MISTAKE DISNEY!

    • JPX

      There is no such word as “casted”. The correct word is “cast”. That’s all I need to know about you and your opinions.

    • bfg666

      You mean fuck up like Lucas did with the prequels and the OT special editions?

  • Joseph M

    Come back, George. I’m sorry about all the things I said. It all seemed so bad at the time, but not now. For the sake of the kids – ep7, ep8 and ep9 – come back. We can compromise, this time. George?

  • Saraj Arjun

    Why is there so much doggedness to extend Star Wars it so much SLICES. Its memorable. It has its own archetypal greatness associated with it. Why doesn’t Hollywood come with more original IPs. And worst why do audiences feel there should be more of this?

  • Jim

    This is going to be awesome when this is the best Star Wars in like 25 years and all of you expert “couch” directors that have an axe to grind against JJ are going to have to shut the fuck up.

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