Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX release dates confirmed

As the December release date of Star Wars: The Force Awakens edges nearer, Disney has confirmed official release dates for Episodes VIII and IX.

Not only that, but apparently the next three Star Wars films will form just the first of a series of planned trilogies.

That information comes courtesy of Disney CEO Bob Iger, who issued the following statement to Get Your Geek On :

“As one of the few people allowed to visit the set during filming... and one of the fewer who’s seen most of the footage… I can assure the millions of Star Wars fans who have spent the last decade hoping for a new movie this one will be worth the wait.

“And it’s only the beginning of a new era of exceptional Star Wars storytelling; next year we’ll release our first standalone movie based on these characters, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII in 2017, and we’ll finish this trilogy with Episode IX in 2019.”

That's certainly an ambitious game-plan, but it's great to see Disney capitalising on the rich world of the Wars-verse.

And while rumours continue to circulate that Star Wars: Episode VIII will be directed by Rian Johnson (Looper), something Disney is yet to confirm, we know that Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) is currently at work on the first Star Wars spin-off.

Clearly, the Mouse House is taking this very seriously, drawing on a fantastic pool of talent for its big-screen explorations of the Star Wars mythos. We can't wait to see how this plays out.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in cinemas on 18 December 2015.