Earlier this week, Disney and LucasFilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII has been pushed from a May 26, 2017 release date to December 15, 2017. The announcement meant that the highly-anticipated sequel would go up against Warner Bros.' Ready Player One, but it was also widely well-known that 20th Century Fox's Avatar 2 was set to hit theaters at some time in December 2017. The Wrap reports that the long-awaited Avatar 2 will not be ready in time for its tentatively-planned December 2017 release date, although no specific release date has been given.
Production on Avatar 2, Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 is scheduled to take place simultaneously later this year, but it isn't exactly known if the actual production schedule has been delayed. 20th Century Fox had originally planned on Avatar 2 hitting theaters by the end of this year, but that was ultimately delayed, with director James Cameron intending to shoot all three sequels simultaneously at the end of this year. Avatar 2 was then scheduled to hit theaters sometime in December 2017, but now the studio claims that it had never officially set a release date for this long-awaited follow-up.
As of now, Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens has earned approximately $1.9 billion at the box office, putting it within striking distance of Avatar's $2.7 billion global record. It has already eclipsed the 2009 blockbuster's domestic mark f $760.5 million, but it still has a ways to go before breaking the global record. Regardless of whether or not the current blockbuster breaks the record, its sequel won't have to contend with Avatar 2, if this report is accurate.
While no actors have been confirmed for Star Wars: Episode VIII yet, Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn) and Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) are expected to return. Benicio Del Toro has also been rumored to play the main villain in this highly-anticipated sequel, but with production begin delayed to February, it's possible we still may not get a confirmed cast list anytime soon. Since the early footage was shot at Skellig Michael Island, many assume that the movie will take place directly after Rey meets Luke Skywalker at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we don't know for sure quite yet.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already broken Avatar's domestic box office record of $760.5 million, earning $863.1 million in North America to date. Thanks to a lukewarm reception in China, though, it doesn't appear that the blockbuster can break Avatar's global record of $2.7 billion, with a current worldwide tally of $1.87 billion so far. We'll have to wait and see if Star Wars: Episode VIII has a shot at breaking this record when it hits theaters on May 26, 2017. Stay tuned for more on this highly-anticipated sequel before production starts next month.