Disney-owned Marvel Studios has announced that its upcoming 2015 superhero film Ant-Man has been moved from its planned Nov. 6 release date to July 31, 2015, placing it in direct competition with DC's Superman Vs. Batman film (due out July 17).
Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' will kick off Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While it is not unusual for movie releases, especially ones several years away, to be shuffled, Disney's 2015 schedule is beginning to paint a picture for when we can expect one major franchise film, currently without a release date: Star Wars Episode VII.
Disney and its various properties have a busy 2015 slate so far, with Pixar's Inside Out (June 19) and Finding Dory (Nov. 25), Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron (May 1) and Ant-Man (July 31), and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (July 10).
Though Star Wars was originally expected to see a spring or summer release, it is looking increasingly likely that the film will arrive towards the end of 2015, possibly around the holidays. While all six canonical Star Wars films so far have been released in May, rumors have recently swirled that director J.J. Abrams is unhappy with the production schedule, and feels that the film can only make its targeted 2015 release if it lands at the end of the year. Though filming is expected to begin early next year in the U.K., no casting announcements have yet been made.
Little is known about the plot of Episode VII, but it has been speculated that original Star Wars trilogy stars Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill will return in some capacity.
Michael Arndt, Academy Award-winner screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3, has been tapped to pen the script, while Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk will produce. Of note, Star Wars VII will be the first in the series shot on film (rather than digital) since 1999's The Phantom Menace.
J.J. Abrams, who rebooted 'Star Trek,' will tackle the first 'Star Wars' film since 2005's 'Revenge Of The Sith.'
Upon acquiring Lucasfilm late last year, Disney laid out a plan to release Star Wars films annually, beginning in 2015, with numbered sequels appearing every other year and several stand-alone franchise films in development, much like Marvel's film approach. In the coming months, more concrete information on Star Wars Episode VII should arrive, including its highly-anticipated release date.
Are you excited for a new Star Wars film? Do you think Marvel's Ant-Man can hold its own against an established franchise like Superman? Let us know in the comments!