Amid the rumours that production on Star Wars: Episode VIII is being delayed, Disney and Lucasfilm have just announced the film is now being released on December 15, 2017 rather than its original summer date.
The sequel to the smash hit Star Wars: The Force Awakens was originally slated to be released on May 26, 2017 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the massive franchise (also 40 years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope on May 25, 1977). Rumours have recently begun circulating that production was to be delayed because director Rian Johnson was working on a rewrite of the script. Now the film will be following in the footsteps of its predecessor and the upcoming Rouge One: A Star Wars Story to be released in the holiday season.
Here is the press release given out by Starwars.com:
Today, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally scheduled for release in summer 2017, will now debut on December 15, 2017.
The move follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere outside the traditional summer blockbuster window and smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861.3 million and the third biggest global release ever with $1,886.7 billion.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in preproduction and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski will executive produce. Stay tuned for exciting updates in the coming weeks.
Currently, James Cameron has given a tentative release date for Avatar 2 as December 25, 2017. It will be interesting to see whether Cameron changes the date to make way for Star Wars: Episode VIII or how the billion dollar juggernauts will fare next to each other.