Harrison Ford will turn seventy-two this July, which means he is at that age where you don't want to sprain or break shit if you can help it. Problem is, it's a lot easier to break shit when you're seventy-two, and much harder to make a full recovery.
As you all surely know by now, Ford broke his leg a couple of weeks ago in a mishap somewhere in the vicinity of the actual Millennium Falcon on the set of STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Ford's a tough bastard, so I've little doubt he'll be up and at 'em as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the word coming from the set is that he could be out of service for as long as six months. And this is a huge problem because Han Solo is pretty much the main character of EPISODE VII, leading a galaxy-wide search party for Luke Skywalker. So I do not have a hard time believing Jedi News' rumor that there was an emergency meeting today on the film's Pinewood Studios set to determine whether J.J. Abrams and company can realistically make their December 18, 2015 release date.
I know Disney was adamant about keeping EPISODE VII in 2015, but if Ford's out, they've little choice but to shoot what they can without him and wait for him to get better. If that takes six months, this means the studio would likely be forced to move the film to Memorial Day 2016, which means they'd have to find another release date for ALICE IN WONDERLAND 2. This would also leave Disney without a major Christmas 2015 movie, so another tentpole flick would have to be moved into December. Realistic options? TOMORROWLAND (currently set for 5/22/15), ANT-MAN (7/17/15) or Jon Favreau's THE JUNGLE BOOK (10/9/15). There's also Steven Spielberg's untitled Cold War spy thriller starring Tom Hanks (10/16/15), but that's not a four-quadrant picture.
This rumor is getting a good deal of traction, so I'd expect some kind of official response from Disney fairly soon. Given what I know about EPISODE VII's story (along with the recent hiring of writer-director Rian Johnson for EPISODES VIII and IX), I'm genuinely looking forward to this new trilogy. It took them longer than expected to beat the script into shape, but they're really happy with it, and there's zero possibility of a significant rewrite to work around Ford's injury. Han's the man in this movie. That's not going to change.