Disney CEO Bob Iger talked more than just numbers at a yearly shareholder meeting on Tuesday — he revealed some juicy tidbits on upcoming Disney productions, including some honest to goodness news on "Star Wars: Episode VII."
The highly anticipated J.J. Abrams reboot will be set 30 years after the events of "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" (which came out 1983), Iger confirmed at the meeting held in Portland, OR.
While the mega-executive said there "isn't much" to share about the upcoming "Star Wars" installment, he did also reveal that the film production will commence in May in London.
As far as casting, the only confirmed player remains "R2-D2, played by R2-D2," but Iger more or less confirmed that there will be some "Star Wars" veterans along with some new characters.
"There will be some very familiar faces along with a trio of new young leads," said Iger. And we'd bet money that those "familiar faces" are Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia.
Iger also said the movie "really looks amazing," but as filming hasn't started, we're assuming he's referring to concept art, sets being built, costumes being prepared, and all that fun pre-production kind of stuff.
Incidentally, Disney, the biggest media conglomerate in the world, has gotten even bigger as its market value is currently more than $143 billion, up from a mere $100 billion last year.
Here are some other Disney delights from Tuesday:
1. "Frozen" is almost the biggest animated film of all time.
"Frozen" has to-date earned $1.027 billion at the worldwide box office, and after its recent strong opening in Japan, it looks like it will surpass the $1.063 billion earned by "Toy Story 3" (2010). Iger said the success of "Frozen" has returned Disney's animation studio it its "rightful place" as one of the world's greatest. (Translation: "Pixar's not better than us after all!")
2. Look for sequels to "Cars" and "The Incredibles."
Iger revealed that Pixar is developing "Cars 3" and "The Incredibles 2." The former especially seems a no-brainer, as "Cars" (2006) earned over $461 million worldwide and its 2011 sequel earned over $559 million ... not to mention the gargantuan revenue brought in by "Cars" merchandise and the "Cars"-themed park at California Adventure.
It's probably not a superhero movie unless it has a sequel (or five), so it seems rather overdue that "The Incredibles" is getting a second installment. The original film, released in 2004, grossed over $631 million worldwide.
"The Incredibles" was directed by Brad Bird, who is currently calling the shots on one of Disney's super-secret live-action projects, "Tomorrowland," which stars George Clooney and hits theaters on May 22, 2015. We're assuming he'll be involved in the "Incredibles" sequel in some capacity.
3. "Pirates of the Caribbean 5" is still a ways on the horizon.
When asked about the next chapter in the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow, Iger said that "there's creative being done" but it has not been officially approved for production.
It's been slow going getting a new "Pirates" film in the water, with the last installment, "On Stranger Tides," released in May 2011 (and which grossed over $1 billion worldwide). Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg ("Kon-Tiki") are currently attached to direct the fifth film, tentatively titled "Dead Men Tell No Tales," though "script issues" took it off the Summer 2015 release calendar (announced shortly after Disney's "The Lone Ranger" tanked at the box office).
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer hopes "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" will be ready to set sail in theaters by Summer 2016.