Star Wars: Episode VIII Has Been Pushed Back

By  · Published on January 20th, 2016

LucasFilm

Here’s some news we didn’t expect, especially in the wake of the massive success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens: the next movie in the new Star Wars trilogy has been pushed back to December 15, 2017.

The Rian Johnson-directed Episode VIII was originally scheduled to land on May 26, 2017, but will now be replaced by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (which had previously been scheduled for the summer.)

Here’s the full press release direct from Disney:

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.

There’s no clear indication as to why the delay is necessary. It could be as simple as the production needing a little more time to get it right. Or it could have a lot to do with Disney really liking the holiday release window for Star Wars, as they state in the press release. Rogue One will drop on December 16, 2016, putting exactly a year between each of the next two Star Wars films. The delay will certainly be a slight disappointment for fans, but there doesn’t appear to be any reason to panic about the film itself. So far as we can tell, this is not due to any production issues.

What’s even more interesting is that Episode VIII will now open a week before the scheduled release of James Cameron’s Avatar 2. Your move, Mr. Cameron.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the upcoming One Perfect Shot TV show (HBO Max, 2021) and the co-host of The Storm: A LOST Rewatch podcast. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)