I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. I fear more Star Wars movie delays.
Even before the latest delays, the state of the Star Wars movie universe wasn't exactly looking cheery. Sure, Disney confirmed new movies from Kevin Feige and Taika Waititi (plus whatever Rian Johnson is working in his own corner of the galaxy), but it was hard to imagine any of those films actually playing in theaters in the near or even not-too-distant future.
Then, Covid-19 happened, and as Disney's swollen movie slate continued to face delays, those delays eventually came for Star Wars. On July 23, in the middle of a virtual-only San Diego Comic-Con, the House of Mouse revealed the latest changes to its theatrical schedule.
For Star Wars, that means fans will now get new movies on Dec. 22, 2023; Dec. 19, 2025; and Dec. 17, 2027 (that's roughly a year's delay for each unnamed film). Disney also announced new release dates for four Avatar sequels (yes, you read that right, four more Ferngully knockoffs), along with various other delays that you can read about here.
But if you're somehow worried that this means Star Wars is on hiatus, you haven't been paying attention. Because Star Wars isn't about movies anymore. Star Wars is about TV. Or, more specifically, it's about Disney+ original shows.
The next bright spot on Tatooine's dusty horizon is The Mandalorian Season 2, which miraculously filmed before the outbreak of coronavirus and is still on track for an October debut. Meanwhile, new shows about fan-favorite characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor were in various states of pre-production, which basically means they've been delayed indefinitely too but at least have a headstart on those mysterious movies.
In the meantime, Disney is pumping out a Clone Wars sequel series about a group of unruly Clone Troopers called the Bad Batch, not because anyone particularly liked those characters, but because it's the easiest and quickest way to release more Star Wars content in a world where it's virtually impossible to film anything that requires human actors to interact in person. (It also definitely helps when all your main characters are voiced by the same person.)
As the Covid-19 crisis drags on, you can probably expect more Star Wars animated projects to be announced (the entire industry seems to be trending in that direction anyway). After that, we might see a few of those long-promised live-action shows finally arrive on Disney+ by late 2021 at best.
Just don't expect a new movie, that's not what Star Wars is about anymore — for now.
The next Star Wars movie is scheduled to premiere Dec. 22, 2023.