I Have a Good Feeling About This: Star Wars: Episode VII Might Be Getting a Female Protagonist and a New Release Date
by Rebecca Pahle | 11:45 am, January 28th, 2013
And with the confirmation that J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars: Episode VII, the rumor mill begins spinning anew.
What’s the latest on the first installment in the sequel trilogy? Two things. One, it might be coming out later than 2015. And two: Rumors about a female protagonist just got a little more weight to them.
Yay to both things!
First, regarding the female protagonist. The rumors were kicked off when /Film editor Peter Sciretta tweeted earlier this month “Who said the lead character in Star Wars Episode VII is going to be a male star?”, which is more than a little cryptic. Now /Film has this to offer:
Our sources have been telling us for a while now that Steven Spielberg was really pushing [LucasFilm President Kathleen] Kennedy to hire Abrams. The story goes that Abrams was the first filmmaker approached after Spielberg, but was very hesitant. Kennedy talked to other directors including Ben Affleck and also Matthew Vaughn who may have pitched to have Chloë Grace Moretz in the lead role. Our sources say that Spielberg was instrumental in convincing Abrams and Kennedy to make it happen.
So. We know that Episode VII writer Michael Arndt has been working on the script for a few months, and if /Film’s sources are legit it would indicate that at some point the film had a female lead. That might still be the case or it might not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. Happy, but not surprised.
Whether you like them or not, the financial successes of the Twilight series, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Huntsman have proven that movies with female leads can rake in the big bucks, and that’s what’s important to a studio like Disney. Cynical, but true.
ScreenRant points out that:
“Disney absorbing both Lucasfilm and Marvel (and maybe even Hasbro, if rumors are to believed) was partly motivated by a desire to expand the company’s appeal to the male demographic. Hence, making Star Wars more friendly to female geeks – in order to pull in more women, while also updating the franchise for the current zeitgeist – is a smart maneuver, since it’s a given the fanboys are going to show up no matter what.”
Female protagonist or no, according to The Hollywood Reporter we may not be seeing Episode VII until after 2015, when the movie was first slated to come out. According to THR “sources say Abrams has not committed to that release date, meaning the date could be changed if the development process requires it.”
Abrams has a history of refusing to be rushed along by studios (the release dates for both his Star Trek films were pushed back, for example), which is absolutely awesome. The Star Wars sequels are, to put it lightly, kind of a big deal, and two years never really seemed like enough time given how long post-production usually takes on SFX-heavy films. And it’s not like 2015 isn’t already crowded with tentpole movies, like The Avengers sequel and the Justice League movie.
I say let Abrams take however much time he needs. Push Episode VII back by a year and let all these younger film franchises scramble to set up their releases around it. It’s Star Wars, for chrissakes. I’ll wait a few years, I just want it not to be a disappointment like Episode I.