Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn dropped a whole bunch of Star Wars: Episode VII knowledge in an interview with Bloomberg today. And while much of it falls in the rather "safe" category of things we already knew and/or expected (second unit filming is underway in Abu Dhabi, and yes, casting is "almost complete" and we can expect an official announcement "very shortly") there's one quote in particular that bears further examination.
When asked about potential release dates for Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX, Mr. Horn said "We're not sure yet. 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. But this first one will be December 18th of 2015. So we'll start with that and then we'll see."
So, the studio is still set on releasing this one in December of 2015, despite the fact that every other Star Wars film has been released in May. Fair enough. But then there's this, from Variety's Brent Lang:
— Brent Lang (@BrentALang) April 22, 2014
If Alan Horn says Disney is "still struggling" with putting Captain America 3 up against Batman vs. Superman, what could that mean? Is Disney wary of overloading the summer 2016 superhero market, which in addition to those two films, includes X-Men: Apocalypse and an as-yet-unnamed Marvel film for July of 2016? If that's the case, there's only one move that makes sense:
Put Star Wars: Episode VII up against Batman vs. Superman on May 6th. Better yet, open it on unofficial Star Wars holiday May the Fourth. This allows Captain America 3 to move into the more patriotic release slot (that Disney currently has reserved for a Marvel film anyway) of July 8th, 2016.
This is pure speculation, the kind we generally don't love to engage in on a news item like this. But, search your feelings, fans...you know it to be true.
You can watch more of Alan Horn's interview here: