Surprise, Star Wars fans — the next film in the franchise has already begun shooting, and casting is almost complete.
The announcements about Star Wars: Episode VII were made by Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn during a panel at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles on April 2. He also acknowledged that there had been problems with the script, but he’s confident in the version director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan have worked on, which is based on a previous draft written by Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt.
“It’s all about the screenplay,” Horn said. “It has to be screenplay, screenplay, screenplay.”
As for the main actors, the Disney chief said, “We have a lot of them [in place],” though he wouldn’t disclose names. “We’re just not completely done yet.” Would he give any hints? Maybe about the rumors that Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill would be returning? “Patience you must have,” Horn said in his best Yoda impression.
But Abrams didn’t need a full cast to begin filming. When asked whether production would begin in May as expected, Horn revealed: “We’re actually shooting some of it now.”
Horn also confirmed that the movie will take place 35 years after Episode 6, aka Return of the Jedi, and that it will see a December 2015 release date.
Watch the full interview, which was filmed as part of Loyola Marymount’s “Hollywood Masters” series, here: