The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an unprecedented hit on the world and entertainment industry, shutting down our way of life for half a year and putting all major projects on hold. Few noteworthy films have seen theatrical releases since late March, and with the continued uncertainty regarding the virus most forthcoming movies have received indefinite delays.
The next Star Wars wasn't set for release until December 2022, leaving Lucasfilm and Disney a bit of time to come up with a plan. Presumably, that film would be in the midst of pre-production under normal circumstances, but the impact the coronavirus has had on the industry has led to the inevitable...
Disney has announced via Variety that all planned Star Wars theatrical films will have their releases delayed by a year. The three Lucasfilm movies now have the following release dates:
Untitled Star Wars 1: December 22, 2023
Untitled Star Wars 2: December 19, 2025
Untitled Star Wars 3: December 17, 2027
WHAT THIS MEANS
This news is certainly disappointing, but not unexpected. Lucasfilm already had their hands tied by the first project following the dismissal of D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, who were to spearhead a new series of films beginning with the former 2022 release. With that project either canceled or in need of a new creative lead, production time was once again likely to be shortened.
Sticking to their initial plan, December slots for Disney will alternate between Avatar and Star Wars through at least 2028, by which point all scheduled films will be released. For many, this rotation is perplexing and may prolong the release of current theatrical Star Wars films in the works.
As announced today, Taika Waititi is in the midst of writing his recently announced Star Wars film, previously rumored to release in 2024. If Lucasfilm is planning to drop a Star Wars film in December every two years from here on out, Rian Johnson's trilogy, last said to still be in development, may not be complete until the 2030's.
There's obviously plenty of time for Lucasfilm and Disney to lock down their plans going forward, and fans can only hope that this unfortunate delay will by used by the companies to get their Porgs in a row. Things can, and often do, change, and we have plenty of Star Wars to look forward to on Disney+ as we await the next film in 2023.