Star Wars: Episode VII has a release date. J.J. Abrams' new film will open to the public on December 18, 2015, according to an announcement on StarWars.com.
The announcement was written by Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. He wrote, "We're very excited to share the official 2015 release date for 'Star Wars: Episode VII,' where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture."
The announcement keeps the studio's goal of launching the latest Star Wars installment in 2015, though it will be at the end. It also lets Abrams have more time to overcome issues with the script that led to original screenwriter Michael Arndt's ouster.
Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Empire Strikes Back, took over script duties to keep the movie going. Abrams gushed about working with Kasdan during an interview with the New York Daily News in April. Kasdan was just a consultant on the film at the time, but that didn't keep the Star Trek producer from being excited to work with him in some capacity.
Abrams commented, "I can't believe I get to work with Larry Kasdan now [as a kid who grew up in love with the 'Star Wars' franchise]." Honoring the franchise's past is important to J.J. Abrams as he works on Star Wars: Episode VII. Original trilogy stars are also reportedly attached to the film, while original composer John Williams will return to write and direct the score.
While speaking about the Arendt shakeup, CNN notes that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy didn't downplay the role the former script writer played in making the new Star Wars installment come to life. She explained that "Arendt has done a terrific job in bringing us to this point."
Star Wars: Episode VII is in pre-production and should begin shooting in spring 2014.