Friday, January 22, 2016
STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII... Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren Set to Return to the Big Screen on December 15, 2017
Considering how successful The Force Awakens was during its record-breaking box office run over the past month or so, it's no surprise that Disney and Lucasfilm have decided to try catching lightning in a bottle twice by changing Star Wars: Episode VIII's release date. Instead of bowing in theaters on May 26, 2017 (which would've marked the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope's theatrical debut on May 25, 1977), Episode VIII will instead be unleashed in cinemas seven months later. And just like how Marvel's decision to release Captain America: Cvil War (Marvel is also owned by Disney) on May 6 prompted Warner Bros. to change Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's release date to March 25 instead (Dawn of Justice was originally intended to come out on May 6 as well), Episode VIII's schedule change has prompted FOX and director James Cameron to indefinitely delay the release of Avatar 2—which was set to debut on Christmas Day, 2017.
FOX cites Cameron's pace on the sequel's lengthy pre-production period as reason for the delay, but it's also likely that the idea of clashing with the follow-up to the most successful domestic film of all time (inflation aside) was another catalyst for not releasing Avatar 2 next year. If it was a choice between going up against Episode VIII in 2017 or the Han Solo spin-off film in December of 2018, I think that FOX would prefer the latter...unless Harrison Ford decides to make a cameo in the Han Solo flick. Carry on.