Will the ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Release Date Be Delayed Because of Harrison Ford’s Broken Leg?
'Star Wars: Episode 7' was originally scheduled to open in theaters in May of 2015, but when writer-director J.J. Abrams decided he wanted to make some wholesale changes to the existing script by Michael Arndt, the decision was made to push the film back to December 18, 2015. Disney was hesitant to move the film out of the summer, as they had promised shareholders a 2015 'Star Wars' movie, but eventually gave in, realizing that even a December date was still technically in 2015. The problem was that a December 18th date left virtually no room for error, and two weeks ago came one very big error: the door of the Millennium Falcon fell and broke Harrison Ford's leg.
We since heard that Ford would be sidelined for two months while he waited for his injury to heal, but that was back when it was still thought he had a broken ankle; Ford's publicist has since clarified that the actor broke his left leg, a significantly more serious injury.
Now, comes word via Jedi News that the 'Star Wars: Episode 7' production team convened early this morning to discuss the nature of Ford's injury and how it will impact the shooting schedule. Their sources claim that the early word from those meetings was that 'Star Wars: Episode 7' "could be pushed back by a substantial amount of time."
There has been no official word from Lucasfilm, Disney or Bad Robot on the possibility of a delay and this latest rumor is just that, a rumor, but it does make sense that 'Star Wars: Episode 7' could at least be facing the strong likelihood of a production delay. As has been previously reported, Ford's Han Solo is the main character of this 'Star Wars' film. If Ford were rehabbing his leg for two months, there's only so much additional shooting Abrams could accomplish with the rest of the cast and crew (or with Ford sitting down in a chair).
UPDATE: Lucasfilm issued a statement to TheForce.net saying, "There is no change in the release date." That's a very carefully worded statement, and means only that nothing has been decided upon at this point.
io9 is speculating that there could be "massive rewrites" to the script, but we don't see something that drastic at this stage of the game. There are too many wheels in motion. Lucasfilm previously pleaded with Disney CEO Bob Iger in October of last year to push 'Star Wars: Episode 7' back to 2016, but Disney was "adamant" that the film release in 2015 (hence the compromise to December). Now, Disney might not have any choice but to push the film to a May, 2016 release date, no matter how adamant they are against it. Without their star, they don't have a picture.
The question is, if 'Star Wars: Episode 7' needed to be pushed back, when would you push it to? Disney currently has major films set for May ('Captain America 3'), June (Pixar's 'Finding Dory') and July (Spielberg's 'The BFG'). And, we haven't even mentioned 'Batman vs. Superman' yet. The most likely scenario would be to schedule 'Star Wars' for a July 1 release date, but that could cause a domino effect of shuffling release dates as everyone (including Marvel, who have an unnamed film set for July of that year) scrambles to get out of the way of the 'Star Wars' juggernaut.
But, until we get any confirmation on how the 'Star Wars: Episode 7' production plans to deal with Ford's injury and absence from the set, this is only speculation. Based on the facts at hand, however, it certainly seems like an increasingly likely scenario.