And though they originally planned to begin production before 2017 ended, the filming dates for the final movie in the new Star Wars trilogy were also pushed back to the summer of 2018.
The report from Variety that announced the movie’s release on December 24, 2019 also indicates that filming won’t begin on Episode IX until June 2018. Such a delay seemed inevitable with Abrams and new screenwriter Chris Terrio coming aboard to rewrite the story, which has already seen multiple passes from Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, as well as Jack Thorne.
Trevorrow's and Connolly’s initial rewrites came after the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher in December 2016, necessitating a major overhaul to a story she was set to have a major part in.
Thorne was brought into to clean it up after sources indicated Lucasfilm was not happy with Trevorrow’s and Connolly’s version.
With Abrams and Terrio coming aboard, it’s unclear if they’re working with the structure originally provided by Trevorrow and Connolly or if it will see a drastic rewrite. We’ll have a better idea when the writing credits for the film come out.
The production and release date delays will afford the new team a substantial amount of time to make the story they want for the film, though they’re still under the gun. Though Star Wars: Episode IX won’t be released in theaters for over two years, productions of such a magnitude require a lot of pre-production before they can start shooting.
And Abrams production on Star Wars: The Force Awakens underwent significant reshoots that forced the initial delay from May to December 2015. That set the dominoes off for all the subsequent delays to Star Wars movies, which were all supposed to come out the same month the first six movies came out.
Han Solo and Episode IX were meant to get the schedule back on track, but at this point the next spinoff could be the only movie released in May for the foreseeable future.
Star Wars: Episode IX releases in theaters on December 24, 2019.