We’re trying to get every morsel of Star Wars: Episode VII news we can, and there’s no better source than Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. A few weeks ago, he told an audience at Loyola that second unit filming was underway and that when it came to casting, “We’re just not completely done yet.” Principal photography is currently set to begin in May, and so Horn has provided a few more details. According to Variety, Horn is going to London this week to go over the script with director/co-writer J.J. Abrams. That’s no reason to freak out. There’s no major rewrite on the way. This is probably just a check to make sure both the studio and the production are on the same page before cameras start rolling. Communication is somewhat important when billions of dollars are on the line.
Variety reporter Brent Lang sent out of a series of tweets for what Horn had to say. Earlier this month, we reported that Abu Dhabi would be filling in for Tatooine this time around (the Tatooine scenes were shot in Morocco and Tunisia for the previous films. While Horn wouldn’t confirm that this pre-production work was specifically for Tatooine, he did confirm that they did second unit filming in Abu Dhabi.
Additionally, the casting process still isn’t complete. Horn says they’re almost done, and one would hope so with cameras set to roll in May. At this point, I’m assuming that the big casting announcements will come in one swoop on May 4th (Star Wars Day). However, I am curious to find out why it’s taking so long, or if they’re really done and Horn is avoiding the question, “If it’s finished, then why won’t you tell us who’s been cast?”
Horn also said there’s a possibility the movies could get back on track for May releases. Until Episode VII, every Star Wars movie was released in May. However, Disney wanted to make sure they got Episode VII out in 2015 even though Abrams wanted to push it back to 2016 in order to have more time. December 2015 is as much time as the studio was willing to give him for this one, but fans shouldn’t give up on May for future installments.
Finally, Horn reiterated that George Lucas is a consultant on Star Wars: Episode VII, something we reported on last year when we learned that Lucas is “constantly talking” to Abrams about the movie. Again, this doesn’t mean Lucas is secretly pulling the strings. He’s just not cut out from the entire process.
Ultimately, Horn mostly had confirmations, but it’s better than nothing when we’re inside the J.J. Abrams Mystery Box™. Watch video of Horn speaking below, via Bloomberg.