After the supernova-sized success of Star Wars: Episode 7, it’s only natural that the hype for its sequel is off the charts. Episode 7 brought audiences back for a warmly nostalgia visit to a galaxy far, far away, and fans are just dying to find out what happens next. Unfortunately, Episode 8 was recently delayed from May 2017 to December 2017. In addition to Rian Johnson’s re-writes, a recent lighting technician strike has caused fans to fear the possibility of yet another delay. Delaying the film to 2018 would undoubtedly cause a chorus of fans tilting their heads to the sky and screaming “NOOOOO!” in unison. Thankfully, we may not have to wait so long after all.
During its quarterly earnings call, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger stated that filming was indeed underway for Star Wars: Episode 8. While the initial delay to December 2017 is still in effect, the release date has not been pushed back any further than that. Iger additionally stated that production on Episode 9 has begun as well.
In an official statement to Disney investors, Iger said:
“Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun.”
The news comes as a relief to those who were concerned about Episode 8 having a troubled production. After how good Episode 7 turned out to be, the last thing fans want to hear about is how the sequel is facing production issues. Luckily, we can all rest easy for now.
In addition to the status update on Episodes 8 and 9, Iger went on to discuss the spin-off films. He stated:
“Filming of Star Wars: Rogue One is virtually completed and we absolutely love what we’ve seen so far…This is the first of a set of planned stand-alone stories and we’re already in pre-production on our next one, for release in May of 2018.”
Iger concluded the call by saying that the company is planning to break ground for new Star Wars exhibits in both California’s Disneyland and Florida’s Disney World.
So overall, it was a good day for Star Wars fans after such a tumultuous few weeks of unsurety for the franchise. Episode 8 is still set for December 2017, and we have the exciting Rogue One to hold us over until then. With all of these December releases, perhaps we could make Star Wars a new Christmas tradition. Maybe Santa will have to tie his reindeer a Millennium Falcon to keep up with the times.