OK, this is going to hurt, but breathe through it. We’re still getting a Star Wars film every year at Christmas (and I kind of like them as Christmas presents) and this is happening because of rewrites, but rewrites for a good reason. The fan reaction to the new characters has been so phenomenally positive that Rian Johnson is tweaking the script to Episode VIII to give us more time with Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo rather than introduce new minor characters. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) will be switching positions with Episode VIII, moving up from December 2017, while Episode VIII drops back. I’m not particularly worried. Remember, Episode VII was delayed as well to get it right and get it right they absolutely did. The new release date, 12/15/17, puts the film in direct competition with Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One, which I would be stunned if we didn’t see that skidoo out of the way, much like the Jumanji remake and the MCU Spidey solo film already have as to avoid being squashed flat like everything that tried to compete with The Force Awakens. Keep in mind, we still have Star Wars: Rogue One to tide us over this year.
The saga will be continuing a little later than originally planned. Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: Episode VIII, which was planned for release on May 26, 2017, will instead arrive nearly seven months later. The studio has had Episode VIII delayed until December 15, 2017. Jumping in to claim the original May release date will be Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
The move to have Episode VIII delayed follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere in December. In the popular holiday moviegoing corridor, it 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 million and the third-biggest global release ever with $1.887 billion.
Written and directed by Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in pre-production and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski, and Jason McGatlin will executive produce.
Previously scheduled for a July 7, 2017 release, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales features the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow with Geoffrey Rush back on board as Barbossa, Orlando Bloom resurfacing as Will Turner, and a terrifying new adversary, Captain Salazar, played by Javier Bardem, in the mix. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the film is currently in post-production.
The blockbuster franchise’s previous installment, the $1 billion-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, also debuted in late May.
The Episode VIII delay will now see the film opening opposite Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Of course, that project may very well wind up relocating itself. The upcoming release date schedule is always shifting. Sony Pictures has today delayed their planned Jumanji remake and moved their Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man film three weeks earlier.