"We're progressing on a schedule to hopefully begin next year, or the beginning of next year, and the location is still kind of floating around in the air all depending on script and a whole bunch of other issues. As I just said, everything is kind of a free-flowing thing, and when we feel like the story level on this script and everything is really coming together and schedules are all working and pieces line up, we prowl ahead, and Star Wars will be no different."
When asked if he was surprised at the level of interest in the franchise after so many years, the producer revealed he has the same interest as all the fans who have been waiting for this sequel for so many years.
"I mean, it's Star Wars. It's something that obviously has successfully been handed down from generation to generation in the last 40 years. If I weren't working on the project, I'd have the same interest as everyone else because it's something that I, too, am looking forward to seeing where the franchise goes next."
In related news, Saturday was the unofficial Star Wars holiday "May the 4th (Be With You), and, in Los Angeles, a special screening of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi was held. Franchise star Mark Hamill made a surprise appearance at the Q&A session after the film, where he gave a few more tidbits of information regarding Star Wars: Episode VII.
Back in March, George Lucas confirmed that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher will return for Star Wars: Episode VII. During the Q&A session, the actor spoke about how he hopes this new trilogy doesn't over-use CGI and green screen technology.
"There's nothing wrong with CGI, but I think you have to have a balance because the camera perceives the width and the depth and the weight of a miniature or a model."
The actor also spoke about how he wanted this sequel to be age-appropriate, and that he doesn't mind letting the younger actors doing all the "heavy lifting."
"I want it to be age appropriate, so heavy on the Jedi mind tricks and lighten up on the lightsaber duels. Let the kids do the heavily lifting!"
Mark Hamill did reveal how cautious he was in returning as Luke Skywalker, although, ultimately, he couldn't pass up a chance to revisit this world.
"Part of me is cautious, saying 'let well enough alone, let everyone keep their nice memories if they have nice memories and don't try to go back and do it again.' But the other side of me, the adventurous side, thinks 'If everyone's in, how could I miss this?"
The actor talked about how glad he was that Michael Arndt is writing the screenplay.
"I'm one of you, I feel like you're one of us. I'll be in there fighting and trying to be as honest as I can be about what I think it is made these movies so special in the first place. It always starts with the script and that's why I'm so encouraged by Michael Arndt's involvement because I respect his writing so much. He's a big fan of these movies, so hopefully we can make something that doesn't make everyone want to find us, cut off our heads and throw it right in our faces."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to theaters December 18th, 2015 and stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson. The film is directed by J.J. Abrams.