It’s been more than a few days since we got a good old fashioned Star Wars: The Force Awakens rumor, so it’s about time that something new should be revealed about J.J. Abrams‘ impossibly anticipated first entry in the next Star Wars trilogy. And right on cue comes word from the UK that Abrams’ comments about the runtime at D23 in Anaheim might have slightly undersold the size of the next volume. At D23, Abrams suggested that the film would run at a relatively tight 124 minutes, give or take, which would put it precisely in the same range as the series’ best entries, A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. A programming listing spotted by Following The Nerd in the UK, however, suggests that the current runtime for Star Wars 7 will be 136 minutes, and will have an English rating of 12A.
Assuming that this programming note is true, this would put Star Wars 7 at around the same runtime as The Phantom Menace, which clocked in at 133 minutes. One of the many (frankly innumerable) issues with The Phantom Menace was the plodding pace, which slowed the thrilling editing and visual storytelling of the original trilogy down to a beleaguered crawl. That being said, Abrams is a master of pacing: none of his films feel as if they’re ever hung up on a certain bit of story or imagery, and yet when time is needed, he knows how to cut a scene to keep things interesting and wondrous. Indeed, his Star Trek remains one of the most brilliantly edited blockbusters to arrive in theaters nationwide in the aughts. So, though the fact that this runtime puts Star Wars 7 in the same house as the second trilogy, just a bit shy of Attack of the Clones and Return of the Sith, isn’t exactly encouraging, Abrams is exactly the filmmaker that would make me certain that the time will be more than well spent.