Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens has now been out more than a month and is nearly at $2 billion in ticket sales worldwide. We already have the series spinoff Star Wars: Rogue One coming in December, and the much awaited Star Wars Episode 8 was scheduled for only a few months later in May 2017. However, that has now changed as it has been pushed back to December 2017, but this delay can be nothing but good for Star Wars Episode 8.
Looking back at the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequel trilogy, a precedent was set that has a new movie coming out every three years, which is something we rarely see anymore in trilogies. Something like The Avengers may not have a true sequel until three years after, but Marvel is putting out multiple movies a year between to where it doesn’t feel like that.
Star Wars on the other hand has never done spinoff films until now, where they are aiming to do not just Rogue One, but also a young Han Solo film and more. This means that it appears Disney and Lucasfilm want to have at least one Star Wars movie a year, with a rotating back and forth between the mainline movies and spinoffs. Eventually, we’ll probably get more than one spinoff a year, but the mainline movies likely will be every two years now.
That is what made the original release date for Star Wars Episode 8 very strange, as it put it at only one year and five months after the release of The Force Awakens. This short turnaround seemed kind of hard to imagine in the first place for a variety of reasons, namely the fact that just before the delay it was revealed that the movie was receiving rewrites.
Earlier, we learned of multiple roles they were casting for the movie, including two female roles that were supposed to be major, including one that was said to be a leading role. This seemed odd considering The Force Awakens just introduced us to a number of new characters that it seemed we’d be focused on in the next few movies at least.
However, supposedly these rewrites are to make the cast from The Force Awakens the main leads again, while any other new major role would be smaller. This sounds like it could lead to many changes in the script, which could still take awhile to finish up with the rewrites. This is not something you ever want to be rushed, so already having the movie pushed back can allow the writers to take their time.
With a new director taking over with Episode 8 in Rian Johnson, it is also good to have extra time as a learning curve for him to get acclimated to a series as big as Star Wars. Following the success of JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens, he certainly has a lot to live up to and that extra time definitely can help him make the best movie possible, rather than any feeling of being rushed at all.
A movie like Star Wars features an incredible amount of special effects, which looks absolutely phenomenal in how they were done in The Force Awakens. Rather than going to the almost fully CGI route we saw in the prequels, we instead saw practical effects all over the place, which is no easy process. In fact, it’s very time consuming and trying to rush any process as a result could be bad, which would not mesh well with the already announced rewrites for that quick of a turnover if it was still coming out in May 2017.
On top of everything else, it just make sense to move Episode 8 to continue with what should be a Christmas tradition moving forward. Disney already has a variety of different movies to cover the rest of the year, especially with the Marvel movies filling anytime of the year from as early as April to as late as November so far. However, they have never even tried December, leaving that as the perfect spot for Star Wars.
Very few gave The Force Awakens a chance to break the all time opening weekend box office record in a time outside of the summer, but it did just that. Star Wars: Rogue One likely won’t do quite that well, but Episode 8 very well could. Putting it in December with less competition and then having the ability to just keep bringing in money throughout January and February when releases aren’t as major is a very smart decision.
Rather than cannibalize Disney’s other properties or have other blockbuster movies coming out that could take away ticket sales after a few weeks does not make sense, so why not just take over Christmas time from here on out? It sure would be a fantastic Christmas present for fans each and every year moving forward.