We are still about two and a half years away from the release of Star Wars Episode IX (assuming Disney sticks to their current release date), so we don't know much about it at this point. There are still three other Star Wars movies that need to come out before then, including Star Wars Episode VIII and the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But we do know that the movie is going to look sharp, because it is going to be shot on 65mm film.
The Playlist is reporting that Kodak has now added the ability to process 65mm film at their facility in the U.K. In the report, it also notes that one of the projects listed by Kodak to use their 65mm film is indeed Star Wars Episode IX. So it looks like Disney and Lucasfilm want to send the new Star Wars trilogy out with a glitzy bang and will shoot the entire movie in 65mm. In a movie world that is moving more and more towards digital, this is a big step in keeping film alive. Steven Overman, Chief Marketing Officer and President of the Consumer and Film Division at Kodak had this to say about adding the processing of 65mm film to their U.K. Facility.
"The film comeback is accelerating and the epic, big screen experience is well and truly back. The creative and aesthetic distinctiveness of 65mm film is still well beyond the capability of digital capture, so when discerning filmmakers want to a create work of memorable grandeur and lasting visual quality, they know that only real film delivers."
Those of us who aren't filmmakers may not understand why shooting on 65mm film is a big deal. So what is 65mm film? The name itself refers to the width of the actual film cell, and shooting on 65mm film allows for the capture of a much larger frame with significantly higher quality. Images that might otherwise look grainy or less clear on 35mm will look crystal clear in 65mm. That is what makes shooting on 65mm so desirable for filmmakers and why it is good news for Star Wars fans that director Colin Trevorrow will be shooting Star Wars Episode IX this way.
J.J. Abrams decided to shoot Star Wars: The Force Awakens on 35mm film and Rian Johnson did the same for Star Wars 9, so shooting on film is a trend for the new Disney Star Wars movies. That said, 65mm film will be a huge upgrade once Star Wars Episode IX rolls around. The report also listed several other movies that plan to utilize 65mm, which include Kenneth Branagh's Murder On The Orient Express and Disney's The Nutcracker And The Four Realms. Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino are partially to thank for helping to re-popularize the format. Nolan shot his WWII epic Dunkirk almost entirely in 65mm and Tarantino utilized it for The Hateful Eight last year.
Ironically enough, George Lucas was a pioneer in digital cinema, as Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was said to be the first movie ever shot entirely in digital. Despite that, this new trilogy is very much harkening back to the original trilogy as opposed to what was done with the prequels. As it stands, Disney and Lucasfilm have Rogue One: A Star Wars Story coming out on December 16. That will be followed by Star Wars: Episode IX on December 15, 2017. After that, the untitled Han Solo movie will come out and is currently slated for a May 25, 2018, release with Star Wars Episode IX set to hit theaters on May 23, 2019.