Walt Disney have pushed back the release date of Star Wars Episode VIII by six months.
The sequel, to be directed by Rian Johnson, was originally scheduled to be released on 26 May 2017 however now it will first see the light of day on 15 December.
While many fans will no doubt be disappointed by the scheduling, the timeframe does make sense. The Force Awakens was released this past December, Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be out on December 16 of this year, so having Episode VIII come a further 12 months later seems like a natural progression.
Edwards is rumoured to be carrying out some major rewrites on Episode VIII, so the six month delay will likely come as good news to him.
May used to be a traditional release month for the previous six Star Wars movies, but one of the bigger reasons for The Force Awakens’ success is the December release leaving it with little competition at the box office; a May release would see it go head-to-head with other Summer blockbusters. Saying that, it will have a bit of a battle on it’s hands, as James Cameron’s Avatar 2 also has a December release.
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will all return for Episode VIII, with Benicio Del Toro joining the cast.