Well, one rumour can now be put to rest.
StarWars.com has now confirmed the oft-heard rumour that Episode VII would be released late 2015. Specifically, Star Wars: Episode VII will be released December 18, 2015. As Disney CEO Bob Iger noted to shareholders, this is the same release date that Avatar was given in 2009.
Earlier reports rattled some fans, with reports that Iger was sticking to summer 2015 at all cost. Well, any fans worrying about a rushed schedule can now rest easy.
My own speculation is that Kathleen Kennedy negotiated a six month extension to the release date, starting with 2016 as an initial request (which she knew she’d never see granted). Iger agreed to the six month extension and set the Avatar date to allay fears of shareholders who are still waiting to see a return-on-investment.
It should be noted that Star Wars films have seen exclusively May releases in the U.S. only. Star Wars and Return of the Jedi, for example, were both released in Australia on October 27 in order to capitalise on the Australian Christmas/summer school holidays. For U.S. fans, a non-May release may seem odd at best, but for international fans, this really isn’t that extraordinary.