Star Wars episode VII: strikes back

   Star Wars Episode VII has had somewhat of a troubled production thus far. Ever since it was announced by Lucas film (now owned by Disney) earlier this year, anticipation has been rampant among the franchise’s many fans. Along with excitement came worry, especially in light of the new ownership and the amount of time between the most recent Star Wars film, released in 2005, and this one. Some would say Disney made a smart move in choosing J.J. Abrams as director, considering his well-known work on science-fiction TV shows and movies, such as the show Lost and the recent Star Trek reboot.

   However, it appears all is not well in the galaxy far, far away. On October 24th, it was reported that the writer of the Star Wars Episode VII screenplay, Michael Arndt, had left the production. Arndt is an Oscar-winning screenwriter and scribe of the upcoming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film, causing his departure to seem to be a major setback. And because Disney said Episode VII would be released in 2015 in their initial announcement it appeared that the film was suddenly under time pressure.

   The next development in the saga of the movie’s difficult development was the report that the producers had asked for the release date to be pushed back to 2016. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger would not allow for this, remaining resolute in his stance that the film must be released in 2015. In fact, it was just announced that the movie will release on December 18th of that year. Perhaps a compromise was reached that delayed the film from summer to the holiday season, but that is not nearly as much of  a delay as producer Kathleen Kennedy and the other members of the Episode VII team had hoped for.

   It remains to be seen how the film will fare throughout the rest of its production cycle. It is currently in pre-production, with Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan joining Abrams in taking over the screenplay responsibilities. It will officially enter production in Spring 2014, and Disney has begun conducting casting calls and is even accepting video submissions as of November 11th. The Force must be with Episode VII if it is to overcome such production problems.