If the thought of two Star Wars movies arriving within six months of each other seemed too good to be true, then this latest development won't come as a surprise. Lucasfilm and Disney confirm that Star Wars: Episode VIII has been pushed seven months back from its original release date. Initially scheduled to open on May 26, 2017 - mere months after the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - the untitled eighth episode is now set to arrive on December 15, 2017. The next Pirates of the Caribbean movie slips into that earlier Memorial Day weekend spot.
No official explanation has been offered up at this time, although it's interesting to note that this date change arrives hot on the heels of a rumor from The Wrap correspondent Jeff Sneider. In his weekly Meet The Movie Press podcast, Sneider puts forward insider intel suggesting that the reason for the delay is down to a scripting issue.
Due to the success of The Force Awakens, and response to its newcomers Daisy Ridley's Rey, John Boyega's Finn and Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron, writer-director Rian Johnson is apparently sitting down to re-write the screenplay in order to give that trio more screentime. As a result, this cuts down the roles of two new female characters that Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Gina Rodriguez, Bel Powley and Tatiana Maslany have previously been linked to. This is all still speculation, and neither Lucasfilm nor Disney corroborated this info in the official press release. That statement does confirm that the sequel is still on track to commence filming next month.
Directed by Rian Johnson, and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Benicio Del Toro, Star Wars: Episode VIII opens on December 15, 2017. The Gareth Edwards-directed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16, 2016.