While the original release date for Star Wars Episode 8 was set for May of 2017, we’ll now be seeing placement closer to that of The Force Awakens. Very likely due to the massive appeal of a December showing due to the best-in-history ticket sales of Star Wars: Episode 7, Disney has decided to push the release of Episode 8 back a few months. That’ll be seven months later than it was originally planned, but has no effect on the release of Star Wars: Rogue One (aka Rogue One, a Star Wars Story).
According to a Lucasfilm/Disney representative, this date shift “follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere outside the traditional summer blockbuster window and smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861.3 million and the third biggest global release ever with $1.886.7 billion.”
So it’s fairly clear what’s going on here. Not likely due to a need for script rewrites, not due to the need to prepare with enough toys, banana branding, or clothing brand tie-ins. Instead, this move is made to follow the biggest movie ever made: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Rian Johnson is still set to have written and directed this film, while the rest of the heads of production and such – you may not know quite yet. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce, of course, while Jason McGatlin and Tom Karnowski will executive produce. One more executive producer is J.J. Abrams, director of The Force Awakens.
Needless to say, Disney and Lucasfilm aren’t about to let their success act as a learning experience. If it works, do it.