It official: we are getting two Star Wars movies in the next year and a half. The first movie since Lucasfilm relaunched the Star Wars franchise to not debut in December will be Han Solo: A Star Wars Story (not final title), now officially set for a May 25, 2018 release. That was announced alongside the official start of principal photography on the film (although they've been doing preliminary shooting for nearly a month).
The release date of Han Solo has been contentious. When the Star Wars movies were first announced by Disney after their purchase of Lucasfilm, they were planning to release Star Wars: Episode VII in December 2015 (which it did, as The Force Awakens), followed by the first standalone film (then called anthologies) a year later - which again it did, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Episode VIII in May 2017, and the second Star Wars Story in May 2018. Then, partially thanks to the incredible success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the Christmastime launch, they elected to push Episode VIII to a December release. Three consecutive December releases marked it as a pattern, and many industry watchers and Star Wars fans began to question whether Han Solo would be pushed back.
Adding fuel to that rumor fire, Lucasfilm started talking about the film and its casting, but without any release date. Instead, they simply said it was coming in 2018, with no month or day attached. That was Lucasfilm's standard for talking about Han Solo for the entirety of 2016, and in official casting releases issued in 2017 as well.
Now there's no doubt: Disney has Han Solo: A Star Wars Story on the schedule for May 25, 2018, and looks to utterly dominate the front half of the blockbuster summer 2018 schedule. Han Solo will release three weeks after Avengers: Infinity War from Disney's Marvel Studios, and three weeks prior to Incredibles 2 from Disney-Pixar.
The May release date is a return for Star Wars, which traditionally was released at the end of May. In fact, May 25, 1977 was the release date of the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, so having Han Solo release on May 25, 41 years later, will work to their favor as an event.
Whether this means Star Wars: Episode IX will also be released in May 2019 (the original projected, but not official, date) is yet to be seen.
Han Solo: A Star Wars Story is filming now under directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller for a May 25, 2018 release. Alden Ehrenreich stars as a young Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in the era before Star Wars: A New Hope, before they met Leia and Luke and embarked on a galaxy-saving adventure. Donald Glover also stars as Lando Calrissian, with Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Emilia Clarke in as-yet-unrevealed co-starring roles.
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