Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres on December 15, but as soon as it's over fans are bound to be clamoring for the next installment in the franchise. But when does Star Wars: Episode 9 come out? Unfortunately for enthusiasts of the series, the wait is going to be a long one, but that's necessary so everyone behind the scenes can make sure the film is at its best before the public catches a glimpse. The final film in the new trilogy remains untitled, so it seems like there's still a lot of work to be done on it.
The release date for Star Wars: Episode 9 is December 20, 2019, a whole two years off from The Last Jedi. There was a similar two-year gap between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, so it looks like this is the schedule Star Wars is sticking to for its newer films. Of course, a lot could change in a couple of years; the debut could end up pushed forward or back depending on what happens during production. The release date was already changed once before. It was initially going to come out on May 24, 2019, but a little bit of shuffling behind the scenes led to the new December date. That was due to director Colin Trevorrow leaving the film and being replaced by J.J. Abrams, who returned to helm the franchise after directing The Force Awakens.
But while there's a chance the date could shift again, December 20 seems like a safe bet. It was announced on the official Star Wars Twitter account, and it also reflects the December release of other Star Wars films. The new date makes sense based on the pattern set by previous movies.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Trevorrow left the project because of creative differences; the article claimed that his relationship with Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy "became unmanageable." However, a statement from Lucasfilm made it clear that it was a mutual decision for Trevorrow to exit Episode 9 and wished him the best. The statement read, in part, "Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process, but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ."
After the release of The Force Awakens, Abrams made it sound as though he wasn't interested in returning for future films because of how much time and energy they required. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said, "If The Force Awakens worked, it was the perfect place to say, 'I got to make a Star Wars movie,' and not be a greedy bastard." But it seems the break provided by The Last Jedi (which was directed by Rian Johnson) gave Abrams enough time to gear up for Episode 9.
The director switch might not be the only reason the premiere of Episode 9 was delayed. Issues behind the scenes have plagued more than a few films in the Star Wars cinematic universe, with directors also being replaced on Solo and extensive reshoots needed on Rogue One. But the death of Carrie Fisher also had an impact, because Leia's story was originally going to continue into the next film. According to co-star Mark Hamill, Fisher's role in Episode 9 would be even more prominent than in the previous two movies. Now that is no longer possible, and rewrites will be needed to figure out how to handle the new direction of the story without her there.
But even though production hasn't been smooth sailing, there's no reason to believe that Star Wars fans shouldn't expect Episode 9 to make its debut around Christmas in a couple of years.
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