Last August, Vulture rounded up the many rumors surrounding the production of the upcoming Star Wars franchise addition. As the calendar turned to 2014, the world still knew very little about the 2015 J.J. Abrams–directed film: no title other than Star Wars VII, few confirmed casting details, little plot, undefined characters. But midway through March, we now know quite a bit more — and yet it still isn't enough. Disney has thrown fans a few bones, including confirmation that John Williams will handle the score, that the action will take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, and that filming will begin this May, but largely we're still clinging to rumors and speculation. Let's update our original post with all the buzz from the past seven months, shall we?
May 8: Jedi News reports that Disney has signed a five-year deal at London's Pinewood Studios with plans to shoot Episode VII there.
May 20: Latino Review reports that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is in talks to star in Episode VII.
June 1: Comic Book Therapy reports that Derek Maki, president of talent management company Coolwaters, told the crowd at Nashville's Fanboy Expo that neither Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, nor Carrie Fisher had signed on to Episode VII.
June 7: A ComingSoon.net reader alerts the site to a listing on the United Talent Agency website that names Darren Gilford (Oblivion, Tron Legacy) as the production designer for Episode VII.
June 11: Schmoes Know leaks a plot description that says the story line for Episode VII will revolve around two 17-year-old twins, one male and one female, who are "trained by their uncle Luke to be the greatest Jedis in the galaxy. Problems arise when the male twin turns to the dark side."
June 19: Bleeding Cool leaks a casting breakdown for Episode VII that includes descriptions of seven lead characters, including two "late-teen" females and five males ranging from a "young twenty-something" to a "seventy-something male with strong opinions."
July 22: BadAssDigest reports on "tons of rumors that JJ Abrams is on the verge of dropping out of" Episode VII.
July 24: Latino Review reports that Leonardo DiCaprio passed on a role in Episode VII in favor of Tobey Maguire's Robotech movie. Also, it states that Disney is considering Zac Efron for an unknown role and Ryan Gosling for Luke Skywalker's son.
July 31: Jedi News reports that Episode VII is in preproduction under the name "Foodles Productions Ltd."
August 11: Jedi News reports that Ian McDiarmid, who played Emperor Palpatine, is set to reprise the role in Episode VII.
August 14: Latino Review reports that Emperor Palaptine will return in Episode VII as a Force Ghost and that he lined up a new apprentice before biting the dust in the Death Star reactor shaft, potentially setting up a new villain for the new movie.
August 16: Latino Review reports that Ewan McGregor will play a Force Ghost version of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode VII. The actor also reportedly asked Disney for a stand-alone solo film about Obi-Wan.
August 19: BadAssDigest reports that Disney considers December 15, 2015 the film's most likely release date.
August 22: Boba Fett Fan Club reports that Episode VII will be shot on 35mm Kodak film stock.
August 26: Latino Review reports that principal photography on Episode VII will begin January 21, 2014.
August 28: Latino Review reports that British actress Rachel Hurd-Wood has read for the role of Princess Leia's daughter and Alex Pettyfer has read for an unknown role (the site guesses Luke Skywalker's son).
September 2: Based on a report from Film Chronicles, rumors of Benedict Cumberbatch’s casting in Episode VII begin to circulate.
September 3: Cumberbatch’s reps adamantly deny those rumors.
September 5: The aptly named Ksenia Solo (Black Swan) is under consideration to play Han Solo’s daughter, according to Jedi News.
September 5: Spartacus’s Liam McIntyre tells RebelForce Radio that he read for a role in Episode VII.
September 18: Latino Review furthers the New Mexico rumor, reporting that Episode VII will shoot in Las Cruces. The same post says Saoirse Ronan is up for a role in the movie and Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely in it, despite his denials.
September 19: Latino Review’s sources reveal that David Oyelowo (The Butler) and Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) have read for roles in Episode VII. The speculation is that they both read for the role of Lando Calrissian’s son,
September 23: Den of Geek reports on a casting call going around England that’s looking for a “Male, 7 ft to 7.3 ft tall with a slim/thin build and upright posture.” They guess that means there’s a wookie in Episode VII.
September 26: In a speech at Goldman Sachs's Communacopia Conference, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond says he’s in talks with J.J. Abrams about shooting part of Episode VII with IMAX cameras.
October 1: Latino Review says Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire) went in for a role and angered Lucasfilm by telling people about it.
October 6: Jett Lucas, son of George, tells Flicks and the City that his dad and J.J. Abrams are constantly talking about Episode VII.
October 11: Latino Review says that George Lucas had two working titles for Episode VII before he sold the franchise to Disney. They were Return of the Sith and Rise of the Jedi.
October 24: Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) loses his screenwriting duties to J.J. Abrams and Larry Kasdan, a producer of Episode VII and writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
October 27: Jedi News reports that Harrison Ford is onboard for Episode VII.
November 5: Casting directors are searching through the U.K. and Ireland for “a street smart and strong” girl in her late teens and a “smart capable” man in his 20s, according to the BBC.
November 7: Lucasfilm announces that Episode VII will be released on December 18, 2015.
November 14: With the first behind-the-scenes photo of Episode VII, J.J. Abrams seems to confirm that R2D2 will be in the film.
November 20: By posting a picture of the script on Instagram, actor Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) confirms that he’s auditioning for a part in Episode VII.
November 28: Jedi News conducts an interview with its Episode VII source, who links Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), Alexis Dziena (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), and Taissa Farmiga (The Bling Ring) with unspecified roles.
December 13: At Variety’s dealmaker breakfast, Disney chairman Alan Horn says he would not be surprised if Episode VII’s budget ended up at $200 million.
January 3: Director Jon Schnepp tells AMC that the Boba Fett spinoff movie, written by Lawrence Kasdan, is “a fact.”
January 11: Insiders tell The Hollywood Reporter that screenwriter Michael Arndt and J.J. Abrams disagreed about Episode VII’s emphasis on the children of Luke, Han, and Leia. Arndt wanted them to be the focus of the film, while Abrams wanted the old folks to remain in the forefront. Ultimately, that was the reason Arndt left the project. The same story reports interest in casting Michael Fassbender, Adam Driver, and Hugo Weaving.
January 17: Latino Review provides more details on Jesse Plemons’s involvement. He’ll reportedly play Luke’s son, Ben Skywalker, and be the protagonist of Episode VIII, not Episode VII.
January 19: The podcast Full of Sith says Judi Dench is being strongly considered for the role of Mon Mothma.
February 6: When asked about a potential role in Episode VII, Gary Oldman tells Sky Movies, “They’ve called.”
February 17: Harry Knowles from Ain’t It Cool News has it from two sources that Jack Reynor, who’ll be in this summer’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, has landed an unspecified role in Episode VII.
February 18: Den of Geek hears that model-makers at England’s Pinewood Studios are building a full-scale Millennium Falcon. They’re also being offered seven-year contracts so they can work on three new Star Wars movies and three spinoffs.
February 24: In a now-deleted article, 3-D movie blog Market Saw says Benedict Cumberbatch and Gary Oldman will both definitely be in Episode VII.
February 25: Star Wars 7 News hears that J.J. Abrams met with Sigourney Weaver about a role in Episode VII.
February 28: During a visit to Scotland's Isle of Skye, a Redditor hears that Episode VII has put out a casting call for locals and is planning to shoot scenes there.
March 5: Star Wars 7 News says Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror) auditioned for a role back in December.
March 8: Jim Jeffries, creator of FX’s Legit, says Carrie Fisher told him she was headed to London for six months to film Episode VII.
March 12: Variety says the list of actors considered for the lead in Episode VII has been narrowed down to Jesse Plemons, Downton Abbey's Ed Speleers, Attack the Block star John Boyega, and theater actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher.
March 14: Latino Review reports that Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) "has been reading for a part for over the past month."
March 18: Lucasfilm reveals that Episode VII will take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi and center on “a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces.” Filming will begin in May 2014.