It goes without saying, that if you have not seen Rogue One yet, do not watch this video or read further. I like the film more and more I mull it over, and want to get back to see it again as soon as possible. When I do, I will be looking for the incredible amount of Easter Eggs in the film, some of which I noticed, some of which slipped past me. For a full accounting, check out this great rundown by the folks at Movieidol. The Verge also writes a great piece on the hidden gems that you can read by clicking here.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is officially an unqualified success. The film opened with a $155.0 million domestic opening weekend, and a global haul of $290.5 million. It’s the second highest December opening of all-time (behind only Episode VII), and the 12th biggest opening period. It has every chance of giving Disney its FOURTH billion dollar film of 2016 (and The Jungle Book nearly made it with $966.5 million), as the film has not even opened in China yet. It looks like the year will end with Disney having the top five films at the box office: Captain America Civil War, Finding Dory, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Rogue One.
362 days until Episode VIII, people! From what I hear, we’ll see the first teaser for that during Super Bowl 51 in February, then there will be only a six month wait before Han Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters in June of 2018. Episode IX currently has a release date of May 23, 2019. I’m a little bummed that the movies are moving to the summer. I think Disney could dominate much better at Christmas than during the crowded summer, and it’s been like a Christmas present to fans to have them there. Plus, in it’s current release date, Episode IX opens three weeks after the second part of Infinity War: the culmination of 11 years of Marvel films, and it risks pitting two huge store finales of their own against themselves, so I’m hoping IX will move back to December. Avatar 2 is supposedly FINALLY opening in December 2018, and summer 2018 is not as stacked as this year’s is, so I can see putting Han Solo there and avoiding the legions of Avatar fans that James Cameron seems really sure are still out there waiting for him (are there?).
This begs the question, if they’re already doing pre-production on Episode IX, and they’re using the Marvel model of working six years ahead, why haven’t we gotten an announcement on what’s coming after Episode IX? I think the Disney braintrust has several things cooking. Kathleen Kennedy recently gave an interview saying that all options were on the table including IX being the last episode. I don’t buy that. The fans will eat up standalones, but the the episodes are the spine of the franchise, and even if they take a break from them for awhile to do multiple Han Solo films, the long-rumored Kenobi and Boba Fett films; that’s fine. But the episodes advance the universe, and though they’ve always focused on the Skywalkers, they don’t have to as long as they push forward the overall path of the SW Universe.
Disney has been using April’s Fan Celebration to make huge announcements, treating it as Star War’s Comic-Con, and I think you can bet we’ll find out what’s coming next when this year’s Celebration comes to Orlando, FL, April 13-16, 2017.