In Disney’s recent annual report, Chairman/CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VIII will be released in 2017, and Star Wars: Episode IX will hit theaters in 2019.
Disney shareholders received the report last month, in which Iger states:
“As one of the few people allowed to visit the set during filming… and one of the fewer who’s seen most of the footage… I can assure the millions of Star Wars fans who have spent the last decade hoping for a new movie this one will be worth the wait. And it’s only the beginning of a new era of exceptional Star Wars storytelling; next year we’ll release our first standalone movie based on these characters, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII in 2017, and we’ll finish this trilogy with Episode IX in 2019.”
This tightens the normal release window between chapters in a Star Wars trilogy from three years down to two.
Disney will release the J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens on December 18 of this year. There are also two spin-off/standalone movies that have also been previously announced.
The first will be directed by Gareth Edwards, who most recently directed the reboot of Godzilla last year. No plot details or cast have been released yet (though it’s been rumored that Orphan Black actress Tatiana Maslany may have scored a lead role), but it is set for a December 16, 2016 release date.
Given that the first non-trilogy Star Wars film falls in the year between Chapters VII and VIII, there’s a strong possibility the second will hit theaters in 2018, between Chapters VIII and IX.
Another thing I found interesting about the announcement was Iger’s use of the phrase, “we’ll finish this trilogy with Episode IX.” THIS trilogy…could there already be plans for another trilogy after Chapters VII-IX? Logic says yes, but this is as close to an actual confirmation we’ve gotten as to the chance that Disney’s plans for the core Star Wars storyline goes beyond Chapter IX.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited at the accelerated time-line for release dates, and for the fact we now have some ballpark idea of when to expect the next two installments in this new trilogy.