It's the most wonderful time of the year: Snow is falling, there are fairy lights everywhere, carols are piped through every sound system, and there's a new Star Wars movie in theaters. For the last two years, Lucasfilm have turned Christmas into Starwarsmas, dominating the winter box office and breaking all kinds of records. 2017 is no different — the eagerly awaited Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will grace the silver screen on December 15th. And yet, this may be the last year we celebrate Starwarsmas, as 2018 will mark a shift in the status quo.
The young Han Solo movie — starring Alden Ehrenreich as the scruffy nerfherder himself — is set to be released on May 25th 2018 instead of December, but interestingly this is just a return to Disney and Lucasfilm's original scheduling plan.
As it turns out, 2016 played as much havoc with Lucasfilm's release schedule as it did with worldly current events. Originally Rogue One was to be released in December 2016, with #StarWars8 released in May 2017. However, soon after #TheForceAwakens left cinemas, Lucasfilm pushed #TheLastJedi's release to December of 2017 instead. After that, we all assumed that #StarWars9 would follow suit, being released in December of 2019 instead of May. But now we may have to realign our calculations.
Star Wars Episode IX To Be Released In May 2019
Initially, the release date set for Star Wars Episode 9 was May 23, 2019, but when Episode 8 was postponed many of us assumed this would soon change. Releasing each episode of the Saga movies on subsequent Decembers would make for a nice pattern, ensuring that there was always an equal amount of time in between films. However, with Han Solo sticking to the May 2018 release date, and no official alterations to Star Wars 9's May 2019 release, it looks like 2017 will be the last year of the Starwarsmas trend.
Of course #HanSolo could be an exception — as Comicbook.com points out, the May 2018 release coincides with the anniversary of A New Hope's release, which would be fitting for the retrospective anthology movie. However, they also point out that Disney already have the December 2018 and 2019 slots reserved for untitled live action fairy tale projects. SlashFilm recently revealed that eight such movies are due to be released from 2017-2019. Disney wouldn't want one movie to interrupt another's box office gains, so it seems highly likely that after this year we'll be getting a live action fairy tale every Christmas, and not a #StarWars movie.
If you want more proof, Comicbook.com reports that production on Star Wars 9 will commence in July 2017, a full 22 months before the May 2019 release date. This is the same amount of time that The Last Jedi took from the start of production to the release date this year. Personally, I find this disappointing — the winter Star Wars releases have so far proved to be a really enjoyable annual tradition. But on the bright side, this means we'll only have to wait 17 months between Episode 8 and Episode 9, rather than two whole years. Hooray!