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‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ Release Date Moves to December 2017

Although the box-office numbers for Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens is starting to come out of light-speed, the movie is still chugging along up the all-time charts and continuing to break all kind of records. With the movie now a month under its belt in theaters, Disney’s marketing team has now begun to 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' IMAX Imageshift gears towards the next Star Wars movie that will hit theaters later this year, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But don’t forget, less than a year after that is the (GET HERE NOW PLEASE) sequel to The Force Awakens,  Star Wars: Episode VIII.

With The Force Awakens and Rogue One both repping the December release dates, Episode VIII was going to be the first film that would get back to the original home of Star Wars, May. I say was because that is no longer the case. Disney announced earlier today that they would be moving the release date for Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII from May 27th, 2017 to December 15th, 2017. Disney and Lucasfilm must be reading everyone’s comments online, as many have made their case to why December should be the new home for Star Wars, especially after the monumental success The Force Awakens had.

It’s hard to believe, but December is now the new summer. There’s no doubt that it would be a joy to see Star Wars return to May, but with the kind of summer release schedule that happens year-in and year-out, December is perfect for Star Wars because it’s quite possibly the only franchise that can make that kind of money in that month. Before The Force Awakens, a movie never opened higher than $90 million. That’s still a great number, but The Force Awakens nearly touched $250 million, in its opening weekend! Why wouldn’t Disney want to stay there and rake in all that money just waiting to be made?

This, of course, now puts it head-to-head with James Cameron’s overdue Avatar sequel, which currently (probably for not much longer) holds a December 25th, 2017 release. But now, writer/director Rian Johnson and his team will have plenty of time to get the Star Wars sequel in tiptop shape, getting six more glorious months in post-production. And it will only help, because Johnson does have a long road ahead of him. He not only has to answer all those burning mythological questions J.J. Abrams left us with, but he BB-8 & Daisy Ridley as Rey in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'also has to stand up to the critic and fan love of both The Force Awakens and The Empire Strikes Back (being the second installment in the trilogy). Indeed, Johnson has a tough task in front of him, but if you’ve seen Johnson’s previous work, you know he’s definitely capable of doing it.

Here’s the official press release from Disney, which includes a few others shifts alongside the Star Wars movie:

This morning, The Walt Disney Studios announced new release dates for upcoming films from two of its major franchises.

Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally scheduled for release on May 26, 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 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.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in pre-production and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski, and Jason McGatlin will executive produce. Stay tuned to StarWars.com for exciting updates in the coming weeks.

With Star Wars: Episode VIII jumping to December, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will set sail on May 26, 2017, from its previously scheduled July 7, 2017, berth. The blockbuster franchise’s previous installment, the $1B-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, also debuted in late May.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow with Geoffrey Rush back on board as Barbossa, Orlando Bloom resurfacing as Will Turner, and a terrifying new adversary, Captain Salazar, played by Javier Bardem, in the mix. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the film is currently in post-production.

For more Star Wars, make sure to check out some of our most recent coverage:

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