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Star Wars: Episode VIII gets pushed to December 2017

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Images: Disney/Lucasfilm

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.