Belfast Telegraph

Star Wars movie gets release date

Star Wars: Episode VII will be released for Christmas 2015, it has been confirmed.

It was already known that director JJ Abrams' eagerly anticipated movie would be unveiled in two years' time, but Disney and LucasFilm have now announced that it will be in cinemas on December 18.

Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, said: "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 comes days after it was reported that some of the film's creative team had wanted the movie to be delayed until 2016.

It seemed there were fears that it would be hard to get it ready in time following a reshuffle which saw screenwriter Michael Arndt exiting the project, and director JJ and Lawrence Kasdan assuming scripting duties.

However, Disney was apparently determined to stick to the planned date of release.

JJ recently told Deadline that changing the screenplay team was all about time.

"It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be," he said. He added that working with Michael had been "a wonderful experience".

The movie is due to start shooting in spring 2014.

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are expected to return in Episode VII, with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alex Pettyfer and Michael B Jordan among those rumoured to have roles. Star Wars bosses are also holding open auditions across the UK and Ireland to fill two roles.

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