After dominating the box office and garnering five Academy Award nominations, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has reinvigorated the Star Wars cinematic universe. With all this success claimed, the Disney/Lucasfilm machine is moving forward full steam ahead. In an earnings meeting with shareholders (via Entertainment Weekly), Disney CEO Bob Iger gave various updates on the galaxy far far away:
“There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products. Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun.”
It is very unclear how much production has begun on Episode IX, as it is so far away, but it is exciting to hear Episode VIII is currently filming. The was originally scheduled to start filming in January, but the delay in shooting corresponds to the film’s delayed release date from May 2017 to December 2017. The release date change shouldn’t scare people. First, the Star Wars franchise discovered that a December release date means more financial success. Second, if a seven month delay means the filmmakers have seven more months to make another good Star Wars film, then let the delay commence!
The filmmaker in question is Rian Johnson, who is the director behind Brick and The Brothers Bloom. Johnson’s biggest mainstream hit was 2012’s Looper, an R-rated sci-fi film featuring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In addition to his role as a director, Johnson has written all three of his film, and Episode VIII will be no different. It has been reported that in addition to writing and directing Episode VIII, Johnson has written a treatment for Episode IX (to be directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow).
We know Johnson is writing and directing Episode VIII. We know that the principal cast of The Force Awakens will be returning (everyone is hoping for a vastly expanded role for Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma). Unfortunately, Iger did not give any new details to the plot of Episode VIII. It has been reported that Benicio Del Toro will be joining the film in some sort of a villainous role.
Iger gave some other updates about the other Star Wars films. Let’s lay out the next few years in the cinematic Star Wars universe:
-December 16, 2016: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Iger confirmed that the first Star Wars spin-off film (telling the story of the rebels’ mission to gather the Death Star plans before A New Hope) has completed shooting, and the Disney folks are loving what they are seeing.
-December 15, 2017: Star Wars: Episode VIII. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, the continuation of The Force Awakens is currently filming in London.
-May 25, 2018: Untitled Young Han Solo Film. Iger confirmed that production in the second “A Star Wars Story” film is underway. The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are at work on the film, expect a Han Solo casting to be announced soon.
-May 2019: Star Wars: Episode IX.
What say you? Are you excited to have a Star Wars film released each year? Let us know in the comments below!