The Force was emanating almost concussive positivity today. Perhaps it was because Disney and Lucasfilm decided, out of the blue, to drop the official release date for the next episode in the Star Wars saga. Guess what? It’s coming sooner than expected:
Star Wars Episode IX will be released on May 24th, 2019!
That’s right, the still untitled Episode IX (and don’t expect a title anytime soon!) will follow the path of previous Star Wars installments and be released at the beginning of the summer movie season. Episodes I through VI were all dropped during the fifth month of the year until The Force Awakens broke the mold with a pre-Christmas release. The Last Jedi was expected to bring back the May release period, but the movie was pushed back to its current December 15th slot, granting the filmmakers more time to properly finish production.
There won’t be similar timing issues for Episode IX, since production on the Colin Trevorrow-led project is expected to begin in The United Kingdom this July.
We don’t know a lot about the film, but previous reports have indicated that General Leia will not be brought back following the passing of Carrie Fisher. Any other revelations regarding the plot of Episode IX will have to wait until after the release of The Last Jedi.
However, today’s press release did reveal one important snippet: Episode IX will close out the third Star Wars trilogy, meaning the adventures of newbies like Rey, Finn, Kylo Renn and Poe Dameron are meant to conclude.
The May release date is also intriguing since Disney has turned the Star Wars franchise into its December cash cow. However, with four Avatar sequels being set for December releases beginning 2020, Star Wars will look to pass the Holiday season torch from one intergalactic franchise to another.
It’ll also be interesting to see if, in 2019, Star Wars will follow Marvel’s example and release multiple movies set in a galaxy far, far away. Rumors are swirling around a potential new batch of films (Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, more Han Solo movies), so there’s always the chance Disney and Lucasfilm could announce a new Star Wars anthology movie for that currently vacant December 2019 slot.
Today’s reveal of Episode IX‘s release date should be time of celebration and yub nub dancing. While most of this year will be building anticipation towards The Last Jedi, the two-year wait between movies has been excruciating. Now, following this year’s release of Episode VIII, there will only be an 18-month waiting period before getting our next Star Wars fix. Plus, there’s that whole Han Solo movie coming in 2018 to hold us over. So, instead of waiting a whole 730 days to wrap up the third Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney decided to give us Christmas in May of 2019!
May 2019 is going to be an exciting time (especially for Disney). On May 3rd, Disney wraps up its epic Marvel saga with Avengers 4. Three weeks later, they can close out the latest Star Wars trilogy with the release of Episode IX. The Chinese Zodiac for 2019 might as well be the “Year of the Mouse” since Disney will be ruling the summer.
(I also can’t forget to mention that today’s press release also included a July 10th, 2020 release date for the next Indiana Jones movie. What a day to be George Lucas!)