You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: A Timeline of Events So Far

It’s been two years since the world learned that a new “Star Wars” movie was in the works. Since then, fans and industry figures have taken to a massive amount of speculation and rumors — but, in the way of the plot and the way the seventh film in the “Star Wars” world looks, Disney and LucasFilm have kept a tight lid on info.

The world’s first substantial look at “Star Wars: The Force Awakenscame on Friday, when the an 88-second teaser trailer was released online and in 30 select theaters. For “Star Wars” fans, it’s been a long road to the first glimpse of the film, so here’s a look back at the major events that hit the franchise in the past two years.

Oct. 30, 2012: Disney buys LucasFilm, new “Star Wars” film announced”
Disney shocked the industry by acquiring George Lucas’ LucasFilm for $4.05 billion in cash and stock. We found out a new “Star Wars” pic would come in 2015, stealing much of the spotlight in the acquisition news. Disney announced plans for a new “Star Wars” movie every two to three years, with plans to expand the franchise even further.

June 19, 2013: Casting breakdown leaks
Bleedingcoolnews.com leaked the casting breakdown, giving fans a look at who might be the stars of the movie. Seven key roles, including a young man in his early-to-mid 20s, two young females who both had to be physically fit, and an older man in his 70s who could be in the vein of Obi-Wan Kenobi, were in the breakdown.

Oct. 24, 2013: Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan take over screenwriting duties
Abrams and “Star Wars” veteran Kasdan took over screenwriting duties on the seventh installment of “Star Wars,” replacing “Toy Story 3″ scribe Michael Arndt, who was originally hired to pen the project.

Nov. 6, 2013: “Star Wars” holds open casting calls in the U.K.
Under the guise of a generic movie featuring young male and female leads, Disney put out a casting call in Blighty for the movie. Disney claimed to seek someone to play Rachel, a young female 17-18 year old, as well as a character called Thomas, who was in the 19-23 age range.

Nov. 7, 2013: Release date is announced
Disney and LucasFilm announced that the new “Star Wars” would arrive on Dec. 18, 2015. “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.

Nov. 14, 2013: First production photo released, featuring R2-D2
November 2013 continued to be an exciting month for “Star Wars” fans, as the first photo from production was released. It included Abrams, LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy and, perhaps most notably, R2-D2. The following week, Disney and LucasFilm confirmed that the beloved robot would appear in Episode VII.

Feb. 26, 2014: Adam Driver cast as villain
Casting news began to seriously ramp up as Variety exclusively revealed that “Girls” star Adam Driver would play the villain in the new “Star Wars” movie.

March 12, 2014: Actors battle over lead role
Variety revealed that that “Downton Abbey” thesp Ed Speleers, “Attack the Block” star John Boyega, Jesse Plemons and theater actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher were battling it out for the male lead. The role would eventually go to Boyega.

April 2014: Shooting begins
Despite previous comments that Episode VII would begin filming in early May 2014, Disney chairman Alan Horn revealed in April that they had already begun shooting, and that casting was almost complete.

April 29, 2014: Cast announced
In perhaps the biggest news since the announcement of the movie itself, Disney and LucasFilm revealed the cast of the new film: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow, as well as original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.

May 21, 2014: Abrams teases with UNICEF videos
Abrams continued to tease fans, but for a good cause! The director released a video from the Abu Dhabi set that, while showing very few details from the production itself, gave a glimpse at at least one fantastical inhabitant.

June 2, 2014: Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie added to cast
Lupita Nyong’o, who had just won an Oscar for “12 Years a Slave,” and “Games of Thrones” actress Gwendoline Christie were added to the cast.

June 12, 2014: Harrison Ford injured on set
Ford sustained a leg injury in June, causing a brief hiatus in production of the film, which resumed in August.

June 20, 2014: Rian Johnson in talks to write and direct “Episode VIII”

Though not directly about the seventh installment, it was revealed that “Looper” director Rian Johnson was in talks to write and direct the eighth “Star Wars” movie.

July 21, 2014: Abrams reveals the X-Wing
There was still hardly any insight into the new film at this point, so when Abrams released a video from the set featuring the new X-Wing starfighter, it was a big deal.

Nov. 6, 2014: Title revealed
Disney announced that the official title of the new “Star Wars” movie would be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The studio also announced that the movie had completed principal photography.

Nov. 28, 2014: The first teaser is released

Which of these events was the most exciting so far? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter and Facebook.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jon Voight'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' film

    President Trump to Award Jon Voight the National Medal of Arts

    President Trump will present actor Jon Voight, musician Allison Krauss, and mystery writer James Patterson with the national medal of arts. Voight is one of few in Hollywood who has been vocal about his support of President Trump in the past, calling him “the greatest president of this century.” The White House announced four recipients [...]

  • Zack Snyder arrives at the 2018

    'Justice League': Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder Support Release of 'Snyder Cut'

    Zack Snyder, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck have taken to social media to request that Warner Bros. release the Snyder cut of “Justice League.” Snyder, who helmed “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” and was “Justice League’s” original director, had to leave production on the film partway through after his daughter died, with Joss [...]

  • Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On?

    Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On? (Column)

    Do we choose sides when we watch “Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach’s brilliant and wrenching drama of divorce? The question, on the face of it, sounds facile in a dozen ways the movie isn’t. Rarely are there winners in divorce, and there are two sides to every breakup. “Marriage Story” is a movie that reflects that [...]

  • The Letter

    IDFA: Kenyan Documentary ‘The Letter’ Debuts Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given access to the trailer for Kenyan documentary “The Letter,” by producer-director duo Christopher King and Maia Lekow, which world premieres Nov. 23 at IDFA. The film follows a young man who travels to his grandmother’s rural home when he learns she’s been accused of witchcraft. He soon discovers that the threatening letter she [...]

  • Warner Bros. Box Office

    With 'Good Liar' and 'Doctor Sleep,' Warner Bros.' Box Office Misfortunes Mount

    When Warner Bros. was crafting its 2019 slate, the studio took pains to offer more than just superhero movies. To be sure, there were lots of masked vigilantes too, but more than any of its big studio brethren, Warner Bros. was willing to take a risk on the kinds of thrillers, adult dramas, coming-of-age stories, [...]

  • Constance Wu

    Will Constance Wu Ever Watch 'Hustlers'?

    Despite her leading role, Constance Wu has never seen “Hustlers” and, spoiler alert, it’s very unlikely that she will. Wu explained why she doesn’t want to watch the film to Mindy Kaling (“Late Night”) during a conversation for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” “This is crazy,” Kaling said in the beginning of the interview. “I [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    'Ford v Ferrari' Outmatches 'Charlie's Angels' at International Box Office

    Disney and 20th Century Fox’s “Ford v Ferrari” sped ahead of fellow new release, Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels,” at the international box office. Director James Mangold’s racing drama collected $21.4 million from 41 foreign markets, representing 67% of its overseas rollout. “Ford v Ferrari” also kicked off with $31 million in North America, bringing its global [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content