There has been a lot made of a rumour coming out of Badass Digest that is saying that Lucasfilm and Disney are close to announcing that Episode VII won't be a summer release, but will instead be coming out for Christmas 2015.
They cite unnamed sources.
This story is being reported EVERYWHERE as though it's a done deal. People are already looking into sub-zero weather sleeping bags for the campout for tickets. Fans are assuming May is dead for Star Wars.
But here's the problem: There's no evidence to support it.
Normally, people would look at the available clues and see if there was merit in the rumour, but in this rumour, at this point, there is actually a mountain of evidence to the contrary.
First: when Star Wars: Celebration Anaheim was announced there was this line on the official Star Wars website:
Star Wars Celebration 2015 will be held in Anaheim, California, from April 16-19, 2015. Timed with the release of Star Wars: Episode VII, this promises to be a Star Wars Celebration like no other.
That's actually an official acknowledgment of the time period Episode VII will be released. Celebrations I-III were all timed a few weeks before the release of Episode I-III and they wouldn't make mention of it if it wasn't true. Lucasfilm IS an official source for Star Wars news. That sentence didn't get included on that website by accident.
Second: The ONE thing Alan Horn DID say about Star Wars at D23 was to confirm a summer 2015 release date for Star Wars.
"Look for 'Episode VII' in the summer of 2015."
So, that's Disney officially confirming the time frame. And both of these instances are from the last few weeks.
The only company even slightly involved in the production that hasn't weighed in on it is Bad Robot, and those guys are so sworn to secrecy, I bet they haven't even told their significant others they're working on Star Wars, let alone the presumptive release date.
Then, we have Variety reporter Marc Graser tweet that he's being told from his sources that the December release date story is bunk:
So, the evidence says we're looking at a May (or at the very least "summer") 2015 release date for Episode VII.
But evidence isn't enough to satisfy some and they're still worried about other things.
One common argument is that May is simply too crowded for Star Wars to make money and they need to move it to December where it's a safer bet.
Well, according to the calendar, the only film releasing in May 2015 is The Avengers: Age of Ultron, another Disney film, albeit under the Marvel banner. There is enough time in the month to give each film a 2 week window of box office dominance, which is about all any film can ask for these days. That's a lot longer in movie time than you realize. Think about this: The Wolverine came out three weeks ago and it already feels like an eternity.
But for those saying December is less crowded, what about the three movies that have already staked out that territory (including Kung Fu Panda and Alvin and the Chipmunks.) Sure, those movies won't do Avengers sized business, but that's certainly more options than just Avengers. And that season is sure to get even more crowded based on the Oscar-bait films being released in time to qualify and other big blockbusters that always stake out that Christmas release.
There are simply less movies coming out in May 2015 than any other major tentpole month. Just because Disney also owns Avengers doesn't mean it's too crowded.
The next big argument is that they simply don't have the time to make the movie if they're shooting in January 2014 to get it done in May of 2015.
But that's not exactly true. Did you know principal photography on A New Hope began on March 22, 1976? Having Abrams start in January 2015 gives him a full 3 month headstart on the job Lucas did that first time out. Sure, the prequels took more time, but they also spent more time in post-production.
But the prequels also fit on the same time schedule. It took three years to make each of the prequels.
As far as I can tell, work on the script for Episode VII, the first step in any mode of pre-production, began in June of 2012. That hits the three year window for a May 2015 release perfectly as well.
Others think that Disney simply doesn't care that Star Wars movies are traditionally released in May. That may well be true, but they're the ones giving us all of the indications that it will be.
I'm sorry, but at this point, there's simply no compelling reason whatsoever to believe that Star Wars is being moved to December 2015.
Sure. It could happen. The sources Badass Digest are citing could be totally right. But looking at the evidence we have, there's no reason to believe it.
Note: I reached out to Lucasfilm for comment on this issue and have not yet received a reply.