The official release date of "Star Wars Episode 7" is finally announced. "With pre-production in full-swing," the J.J. Abrams-directed movie is slated to hit theaters across the U.S. on December 18, 2015, just in time for Christmas holiday season. Filming is scheduled to begin spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios outside London.
"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," says Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.
It's the first feature film production under the Mouse House's ownership of George Lucas' production company. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back", "Return of the Jedi") are taking over the writing duties from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" scribe Michael Arndt.
"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," the director says of the change in the scripting department.
"That doesn't preclude working with Michael again in the future," Abrams adds. He also says, "Working with Michael was a wonderful experience and I couldn't be a bigger fan of his or adore him more, He's a wonderful guy and was incredibly helpful in the process."
No actors involved in the project have been announced. "12 Years a Slave" star Chiwetel Ejiofor, "The Fifth Estate" actor Benedict Cumberbatch, and Harrison Ford who played Han Solo in the previous "Star Wars" films are among the rumored cast.
Michael B. Jordan and Saoirse Ronan previously confirmed they auditioned for the film. Ronan, however, didn't get the part as she recently told the Playlist, "I don't have Star Wars. I don't have the role. I just shouldn't have said anything. I just auditioned for it, like everyone else did."
This came on heels of an open audition in the U.K. to look for an untitled major Disney film. The casting directors are looking for a young actress to play a "street smart and strong" girl named Rachel who grew up without the love of her parents because they died when she was quite young. They are also in search for a young actor to play Thomas who "has grown up without a father's influence."