Speaking today at the Bloomberg and Tribeca Film Festival Business of Entertainment Breakfast Tuesday in New York, as reported by Variety, Disney Chairman Alan Horn dropped a few Star Wars updates: He confirmed that a second unit has actually already started filming in Abu Dhabi, probably filling in for Tunisia as Luke’s home planet of Tatooine, which confirmed that those pictures snapped last week that everyone thought was an AT-AT foot were in fact from the set of Star Wars Episode VII (zero confirmation that it’s an AT-AT foot, but we can still hope, right?) “We have to give that the ‘Star Wars’-ian look, if I can use that as an adjective — we need to go to these places,” said Horn. Also confirmed is that George Lucas is still a consultant on the first movie, and how you feel about that depends on how bitter you still are about the prequels. Oh, yeah, and the cast is said to be “nearly complete.” With principal photography about to begin at any minute, I would hope so.
But possibly the most interesting tidbit is that according to Horn, depending on script readiness, we might actually see the Star Wars films revert to their original May release dates. While Episode VII is still locked for a Christmas 2015 release, the rest of the trilogy (and possibly the spin-off films) could go back to where they arguably belong. Star Wars: A New Hope helped solidify the idea of the summer blockbuster for an entire generation (Spielberg’s Jaws was technically the first summer blockbuster two years before), and it feels kind of wrong to have Star Wars movies becoming Christmas movies. It’s okay once, but let’s not make it a thing, Disney.