By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 22, 2014 at 12:22PM
So, with "Star Wars: Episode 7" coming in just over 18 months, Disney is still playing their cards close to the vest. But honcho Alan Horn has been letting little morsels out of the bag, and today comes a few more minor but intriguing details about the size and scale of the films, as well as as where the production is at right now.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that shooting had indeed started on the movie, and while that may be technically true, fanboys watching arid desert set photos for any kind of details might want to take the following comments to heart. "We did some second unit work in Abu Dhabi and other places, because we have all these locations we have to film and we have to give it that Star-Warsian look," Horn told Bloomberg. "We haven't commenced the main part of principal photography yet."
And indeed, they don't even have all the actors locked down right now either. "It's almost complete. We're not prepared to announce it yet, but we will be very shortly," he teased.
The next question of course is how much cash Disney is investing into their new franchise, and the answer is what you might expect: a lot, but not overkill. Basically, they are keeping the budgets in line with what the standard Hollywood branded property would cost. "We actually don't even have the completed budget yet. But it will be in that range. These large, tentpole kinds of movies, on the expensive side, are in the neighborhood of $175-200 million, that kind of a number — some are more, some are less," Horn shared. "We need to give the audience, essentially, a full meal in return for their affection and devotion and love for these properties."
And who better to ensure that the audience gets what it wants/deserves than George Lucas? Even though he sold Lucasfilm to Disney for billions and has said repeatedly he's retired, Horn reveals he's still giving his tips on the next chapter of the saga he started. "George is a consultant. The understanding is when he sold the company — and he did sell the company to the Walt Disney Company — so he's very aware of that. So we now are the primary drivers behind this property. But he is a very valued person," Horn stated. "He's the father of all this. [Producer] Kathy [Kennedy] interacts with him, back and forth I think."
Basically, it sounds like, "Thanks for your input George, we'll put it under advisement and it has been duly noted." But still, having someone in your back pocket who knows the franchise inside and out is an asset you don't want to give up.
"Star Wars: Episode 7" arrives on December 18, 2015—the first time a movie in the series hasn't been released in its traditional May slot. Though that too may change for the subsequent sequels. "We may revert — the Star Wars dates have been May — and we may revert to that at some point. But it depends on the readiness of the screenplays and where we are...we'll see," Horn offered.
Thoughts? Let us know below and watch all of Horn's comments below.