Disney Chairman Alan Horn has been giving some information regarding Star Wars Episode VII. Some are still speculating a full announcement regarding casting and whatnot will happen on May 4th (aka, May the Fourth be with You). Either way, it is coming soon as principal photography starts in May. However, for now we have some news on the budget, filming, and casting.
Horn revealed that the budget Disney has granted the film will range between $175 and $200 million. This includes Episodes VII, VIII, and IX as well as any potential spin-off movies. This shows that Disney is being a bit more cautious with their money after the flops of John Carter ($250 million) and The Lone Ranger ($215 million). This also puts the Star Wars franchise on track with the Marvel films in terms of budget and will give J.J. Abrams his biggest budget yet as Star Trek Into Darkness only topped at $190 million.
He also gave some info regarding the casting which is still not 100% completed but is evidently close. The only thing that worries me in terms of casting is how much preparation is needed for any physical scenes. I recall the actors signing contracts for Episode I back in 1997 and the film wasn't released until 1999. Similar things went down for Episodes II and III because the actors had to train for lightsaber battles and fight scenes. If they are casting people just weeks prior to shooting I am nervous about preparation and quality. Either that or the budget is going full CGI.
As for the news that Episode VII had already started filming, he did confirm that second unit filming has already begun. George Lucas is also consulting with Abrams, so let's hope that isn't a sign of another shit storm.
Horn also gave some insight on future releases and stated that the tradition of May release dates might be returning for Episodes VIII and IX. The main reason for the December release of Episode VII is primarily because Disney refused to grant Abrams any extra time. They wanted it out in 2015 and told him to get it done.
Patience. We must have patience.
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