News coming out of the Lucasfilm camp today illustrates simmering behind the scenes tensions amongst the creative staff as they struggle to meet a Disney-mandated summer 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII.
On the heels of last week’s extraordinary shake-up (which saw both Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams assume script duties from Michael Arndt), it is now being reported that Disney execs may have been overly-ambitious when announcing the 2015 release date. While that announcement received a near-rapturous response from fans, it has put undue pressure upon those involved with the production, as the mouse house is “demanding that the film be completed in a time frame that seems unreasonable to those making the film.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “producer Kathleen Kennedy and most of the film’s creative team have asked Disney to push the release to 2016, but studio CEO Robert Iger is adamant that Episode VII not budge.” They also add (cryptically) that Abrams has become “autocratic,” but also seems malleable at appeasing the demands of Disney execs; moreso than Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy.
Questions surrounding the Disney/Lucasfilm $4 billion dollar deal and how a delay in releasing the next Star Wars film would have a negative impact on Disney are all significant factors to consider when contemplating a change to the intended release date. But it is ultimately Iger’s call, and insiders claim that he has “crafted a Star Wars game plan that hinges on Episode VII hitting the big screen that summer.” It seems obvious that Mr. Iger is a “force” to be reckoned with, and his underlings (despite their unmatched industry pedigree) might be best served at acquiescing to what best interests him and his shareholders.
Dissension this early in the Star Wars: Episode VII formative process is surely cause for concern. Hopefully Disney (in their infinite wisdom) will allow the creative forces behind the film to deliver something that is conceived and produced on their terms as opposed to creating a finished product that is beholden to a target date that may be impossible to accommodate.
Tell us, do you think Bob Iger is being unreasonable in demanding that Star Wars: Episode VII meet its 2015 release date? Let us know in the comments section below.