Disney Chairman Alan Horn has been speaking at the Bloomberg and Tribeca Film Festival Business of Entertainment Breakfast earlier today and has spilled some details about Star Wars Episode VII and the future of the franchise…
He confirmed that, yes, some scenes are already filmed, reports Variety, in the Middle East (remember this At-At foot story?) with principal photography set to kick off next month in Pinewood (yay!): “We did some second-unit work in Abu Dhabi… We have to give that the ‘Star Wars’-ian look, if I can use that as an adjective — we need to go to these places.”
Yes, as we reported a few weeks ago, casting is almost complete but: “I’ve learned to be very careful about ‘Star Wars. If I say, ‘There will be no skateboards in ‘Star Wars’… that gets headlines.”
As for the budget, Horn puts in somewhere in the range of large tentpole movies, somewhere in the range of $175 million to $200 million: “We need to give the audience … essentially a full meal in return for their affection for and devotion to this property.”
But one of the biggest fan-serving parts of his talk was the new that while Episode VII is scheduled for December 18, 2015, episodes VIII and IV could get back to the usual Star Wars release month of May in 2017 and 2019. The Spinoff movies are still set for 2016 and 2018.
In related news, the guys at The Force have the details on this May’s Star Wars events at Disney stores in the US and UK:
Disney hosted a VIP event for the press last night, and the big news out of that event is that the company will be hosting May 4th events in its stores with activities for children, Star Wars music, and exclusive memorabilia. Here’s the description of the in-store events from a PDF provided by Disney:
On May the Fourth, Guests will be introduced (or perhaps, re-introduced) to the story and characters of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In-Store events and an exciting Disney Store-exclusive product launch are in the works.
For starters, the first 100 Guests who visit the Store will receive a Limited Edition Star Wars pin perfect for starting or adding to an existing collection.
Then, kids ages 3 and up are invited to learn about the “Ways of the Force” where they can:
Discover the Jedi Mind Trick and learn how Obi-Wan Kenobi uses it to serve the greater good
Master a Lightsaber through hands-on training
Help Luke Skywalker destroy the Death Star through an interactive experience on the Media Wall
Participate in a Medal of Bravery Ceremony
But that’s not all! Throughout May, Guests will be introduced to characters from the classic film with a
collectible trading cards giveaway each week, available while supplies last. Best of all, May 4 will
celebrate the launch of Disney Store-exclusive Star Wars merchandise.