Stop the press: The next movie in the new Star Wars trilogy will now open seven months later than originally planned.
Disney just announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII will now open on Dec. 15, 2017, instead of its originally scheduled May 26, 2017. According to the studio's press release:
"The move follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere in December. In the popular holiday moviegoing corridor, it 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 $861M and the third biggest global release ever with $1.887B."
So, despite every Star Wars movie before The Force Awakens traditionally opening in May, Disney looked at what that film did when it opened in December and decided to stick with that release plan for Episode VIII. It certainly can't hurt that the switch also gives Episode VIII more breathing room after the arrival of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the spinoff/prequel that is set to open on Dec. 16 of this year.
The press release adds that another Disney tentpole, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, will take Episode VIII's May release spot, moving up two months from its prior arrival date of July 7, 2017.
What does this all mean in the long run? Aside from Disney hoping for the same kind of December with Episode VIII that it had with The Force Awakens, it spaces out the next two Star Wars releases more evenly and also gives Episode VIII writer/director Rian Johnson more time to fine-tune his movie (especially with the recent rumors of a rewrite). Disney notes that Episode VIII is currently in preproduction and will begin principal photography in London next month.
What do you think of Episode VIII now being six months further away? Can you stand not knowing who Rey's parents are for longer than we thought we would?