'Star Wars: Episode VII' Gets Release Date

Franchise reboot arrives in December 2015

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Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in 'Star Wars: Episode IV.'
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Mark your calendars: Star Wars: Episode VII will officially open in theaters on December 18th, 2015, the franchise announced today on its website.

"We're very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture," said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

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The film is currently still in pre-production, with director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm vet Lawrence Kasdan recently taking over writing duties from Oscar-winning original scribe Michael Arndt. Reasons are still unclear why Arndt (Toy Story 3) was taken of the project. Still, Kasdan seems to be the right man for the job: he's been working as a consultant for Episode VII and previously wrote the script for Raiders of the Lost Ark and contributed to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

Meanwhile, casting rumors surrounding Episode VII have swirled nonstop, including whether cast members from the original trilogy, including Harrison Ford, will return. (On a recent Tonight Show appearance, not even Han Solo himself would confirm or deny the chatter). The film's producers just announced an open casting call in the U.K. and Ireland for two lead actors, a teenaged girl and a young man.

Shooting for Episode VII is scheduled to begin in spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios outside of London.