J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams

'Star Wars: Episode VII' could be pushed back until 2016.

The team behind the film have asked Disney to delay the release date following the exit of writer Michael Arndt on October 24.

According to those close to the project, producer Kathleen Kennedy wants more time to work on the movie, but studio CEO Robert Iger is adamant that 'Episode VII' - the franchise's most anticipated installment since 1999's 'The Phantom Menace' - will be released in 2015, as planned.

Sources have told the Hollywood Reporter that it has created "enormous pressure" on those involved.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Jacob 'J. J.' Abrams has stepped in to take over scripting duties with Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote 1980's 'Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back'.

Arndt worked exclusively on 'Episode VII' for most of the past year and had already written 40 to 50 pages before Lucasfilm was sold to Disney last year.

However, as one of Hollywood's highest-paid screenwriters, who can command more than $300,000 a week doing rewrites, he was ready to move on to other projects.

The likes of Disney/Marvel's 'Avengers: Age of Ultron', Warner Bros.' Superman-Batman mashup and Lionsgate's final 'Hunger Games' are already set to be released in 2015.

But CEO Robert has crafted a Star Wars game plan that hinges on 'Episode VII' hitting the big screen that summer.

The studio is expected to roll out Episodes VII, VIII and IX over a six-year period, with at least two spin-offs.