The Star Wars universe continues to shift following some recent major announcements. Last week, Lucasfilm revealed that they were parting ways with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, with Star Wars 9 needing a new director to man the ship. Today, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that they are bringing back J.J. Abrams, who directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to take over the project. Now, just after that news broke, it has been revealed that the studio has decided to bump back the release date for Star Wars 9.
As reported by Comicbook.com, Disney and Lucasfilm have shifted the Star Wars 9 release date from May 24, 2019, to December 20, 2019. That will give J.J. Abrams and newly hired writer Chris Terrio (Justice League) plenty of time to get the movie ready and will ensure that they don't have to rush into production. When Colin Trevorrow was still attached to direct, Star Wars: Episode IX was reportedly slated to begin production in January of 2018, with the massive change, that seems unlikely, which is probably why the release date shifted.
Lucasfilm has had a lot of luck in December during the Disney era of Star Wars so far. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released on December 18, 2015, and went on to become the third highest-grossing movie of all-time with $2.06 billion worldwide. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story also had a lot of success with a December release last year, bringing in more than $1 billion at the global box office. Lucasfilm hasn't commented on the release date shift yet..
They did release a brief statement regarding J.J. Abrams being brought on to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. The statement revealed that J.J. Abrams will not only direct the final entry of this new Star Wars trilogy, but he will also serve as co-writer alongside Chris Terrio. Beyond that, the statement says that Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejoin, J.J. Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm, which comes as no surprise. In the initial press release, they made no comment about the release date.
Even if it may not be the most exciting choice, J.J. Abrams hiring makes a lot of sense. He worked very well with Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm on The Force Awakens and the studio simply can't afford any more director turnover. They recently had to fire Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie) from the untitled Han Solo movie just weeks before shooting was set to finish. Ron Howard was brought in to finish up the movie. They also let go of Josh Trank (Fantastic Four) from the Boba Fett movie that never came to pass. So they really need someone who they know will work out this time around after having to let go of Colin Trevorrow.
Shifting the release date does come as a bit of a surprise. After Ron Howard took over on the Han Solo movie, Lucasfilm was insistent that the movie will stay on target for its May 25, 2018, release date. Meanwhile, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is going to arrive on December 15, 2017, and will likely continue the streak of Star Wars movies crushing it in December. For now, Star Wars 9 is back on track and has plenty of time to become a great movie.