Episode VII Update: Production Delay, New Faces, And Progress Report


Clarke and AndersenYesterday afternoon Star Wars fandom’s fears were put to rest when Disney issued an update at www.starwars.com that addressed Harrison Ford’s injury and the impact his recovery would have on Episode VII‘s already tight production schedule.

The injury, suffered June 12 while filming at Pinewood Studios in the UK, has been the subject of wild rumors over the last several weeks (many of which I debunked here). Until now, Disney and Ford’s representatives have played their Sabacc cards close to their chests regarding Ford’s injury and the effect it would have on the film. That’s a smart move on their part: Even a Hollywood superstar’s medical information is protected by the law, and there’s no point in adding to the gossip and rampant worry-mongering about Ford with carelessly considered statements that might have to be revised later.

In any case, Disney said that the Star Wars team will be taking a two-week break to make adjustments to the current production schedule while Ford recovers from his leg injury. The actor was described as “doing well”, and that the film remains on track to wrap in the fall with a theatrical release still planned for December 18 of next year.

That’s got to be a relief for many of us who have been waiting for the film’s holiday release almost as much – or maybe more – than Christmas itself! (I can also imagine that there are more than a few doomsayers who are rapidly reconsidering who they consider “reliable sources”.)

In addition to this much welcome news, Disney announced that the addition of two more actors to the Episode VII cast: Crystal Clarke, and Pip Andersen.

Crystal Clarke is a native of Belleview, NJ, and grew up in New Jersey and Tennessee. The 23 year-old is a recent graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and landed the part while still a student. Clarke has appeared in several stage productions, a music video, and recently wrapped production on her first feature film, The Moon and the Sun, directed by Sean McNamara. The film also stars Kaya Scodelario, Pierce Brosnan and William Hurt.

The Pastels “Check My Heart” (music video featuring Crystal Clarke)

British actor Pip Andersen is an actor, stuntman, and master of parkour based in – get this –  Taunton, England.  (Not exactly Tauntaun, but pretty darn close!) Andersen has appeared in commercials for Sony, Footlocker, and Nokia, and was featured in three episodes of MTV’s  2008 series Ultimate Parkour Challenge.

Sony’s “Spider-Man” commercial featuring Pip Andersen

Finally, Disney confirmed that filming was over in Abu Dhabi, and that production would continue at Pinewood Studios, so if you were planning on slipping off into the desert to sneak a peek at the set, you’ve missed your opportunity and you’ll just have to wait to see the movie with the rest of us!