'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Pushed to December 2017 to Challenge 'Avatar 2'

Director Rian Johnson's next 'Star Wars' movie gets delayed six months, setting up the biggest showdown in movie history.


Disney announced today that Star Wars: Episode VIII, Rian Johnson’s as-yet-untitled next installment in the space saga will be pushed back from its original release date of May 26, 2017 to December 15 of the same year.

The date change has set up what has to be the biggest showdown in movie history between Episode VIII and James Cameron’s Avatar 2, which is currently scheduled to open the following weekend.

Johnson addressed the move in a clever way on Twitter, posting a video from the Star Wars Christmas album:

But how should fans take the news? Widespread panic? Assured patience? A little bit of both? You don’t have to hole up in your fallout shelter for six months just yet. The knee-jerk reaction to this sort of news usually indicates changes in the production and more time is needed to make changes.

This delay is actually a good thing for a few reasons:

  • Fans shouldn’t forget that the original release date for The Force Awakens was supposed to be summer 2015, before being delayed to December to give J.J. Abrams more time to work on the movie. It then proceeded to make all of the money. This new six-month push now gives Johnson a little more breathing room to flesh out Episode VIII when principal photography begins next month in London.
  • It’ll also assure that the public won’t suffer from Star Wars overload by spacing out the release of each planned movie. The first standalone movie, Rogue One, is set for release in December 2016, and having Episode VIII drop in its original May 2017 slot would have potentially made audiences a bit too overwhelmed with the galaxy far, far away.
  • It could also be a move by Disney to assure that all of the movies under its different banners like Marvel and Lucasfilm get enough time to make as much money for them as possible. Now that Episode VIII is cleared out of the summer, Marvel is home free that year with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in May, its untitled Spider-Man movie in July, and Thor: Ragnarok following up in November. Lucasfilm can then end the year for Disney with Episode VIII and try to make even more billions.

Look for Episode IX to probably be pushed back from its May 29, 2019 release too just to see every primary Star Wars movie pick up this same December release date.

Who will win, the Jedi or the gigantic blue cat people? Find out in December 2017.

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