I tried to get Disney to comment on the possibility of a Christmas release date last week when word first started to leak, and of course, they’ve said nothing. I’m still trying to find someone to back up the reports, and I’ve had no luck doing so. I’ll say this, though… it makes sense. That seven month difference changes the entire cycle of when things are revealed, and it also means that Disney will be able to do another D23 Expo before the film comes out, making that next D23 the one where they had better kick out the jams in terms of selling “Star Wars” as a Disney brand.
If Christmas 2015 (I specifically heard December 23 from one person, a date which falls on a Wednesday in 2015) is indeed the target release date, it gets the film away from Disney’s other biggest film that year, “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron,” which has been announced for May. It seemed odd that Disney would cannibalize their own mega-blockbuster with another mega-blockbuster aimed as ostensibly the exact same audience, and now it looks like they’re poised to own both of the big holiday seasons with gigantic event movies.
Sounds like Devin’s got more than one source on this, and if they are aiming at December, they’re going to have to start pinning things down very soon in order to make that date. They have Pinewood stages reserved for the next decade or more, an amazing bit of confidence on their part.
What I’m most curious about is how fandom handles the news. Taken individually, movie fans are lovely. Taken as a faceless mass called “fandom” they tend to be reactionary and they get more hung up on superficial details than Raymond Babbit trying to pick an airline. It’s already going to require heavy tranquilizers and months of hypnotherapy to get fandom comfortable with a “Star Wars” movie that doesn’t open with the 20th Century Fox fanfare (I actually had one angry “Star Wars” fan ask me why Disney just doesn’t license the Fox fanfare for the sake of continuity), so asking them to also make sense of a December release date may be that one little change that finally makes them snap.
We’ll see. As of now, this is still not official, but it sounds like more and more people are being given that as the timetable.