Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an unqualified success, and now it's time to look to the future. Rian Johnson has written the script for Star Wars: Episode VIII, and now moves into the director chair as the film has officially launched principal photography.
The cameras being turned on was announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger during the quarterly earnings call - and guess what? Disney had a pretty good fourth quarter of 2015. That's largely on The Force Awakens' $2 billion global box office cume, plus over $3 billion in consumer products. Now, it's full speed ahead on the next two chapters of the third Star Wars trilogy.
"There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products. Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun," Iger said on the call.
Rogue One, meanwhile, is not quite wrapped, but Iger said they "absolutely love what [they've] seen so far." He also said the next stand-alone story in the Star Wars saga is in preproduction. Interestingly, despite moving Episode VIII to a December release, Iger re-iterated that the second stand-alone film, a Han Solo origin story, is set "for release in May of 2018."