Disney Sets Three New Star Wars Movies Release Dates

The Skywalker Saga is coming to a close with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this holiday season, but Disney's plans for the Star Wars franchise thereafter are already in motion. Star Wars will be taking a hiatus from any major movie releases after Epiosde IX hits theaters - but now we know more about when the franchise will be continuing in the future.

Disney has released its new slate of upcoming movies, which details release dates for three new Star Wars movies, in 2022, 2024, and 2026. Here's the official press release:

"The updated calendar also sets release dates for major franchises Avatar and Star Wars. With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bringing the original Skywalker Saga to its conclusion, three new as-yet-untitled Star Wars films will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2022. Four forthcoming Avatar films, expanding the vibrant world of Pandora, will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2021."

We left that latter part of the quote from the Disney press release to illustrate a key point in this new Disney release strategy, following the studio's acquisition of 20th Century Fox: As you can see, Disney is going to be alternating the releases of Star Wars and Avatar movies every year, starting in 2021. With this move, Disney is basically locking down the Christmas season window for the foreseeable future; if one or both franchises do well, it will almost certainly become the new release strategies for those franchises well beyond 2027 - which is when the fifth Avatar film will hit theaters, completing the release schedule outlined above.

As for what these new Star Wars movies are? Well, there's several big possibilities. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is quietly at work on an original new Star Wars trilogy idea (much to the chagrin of some fans); Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are also at work on their own Star Wars project for Lucasfilm (which some fans hope will emerge as a Knights of the Old Republic series). Right now, it seems more logical to assume that this newly announced set of dates will be for Rian Johnson's trilogy, which has already been confirmed to be in production.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th, 2019.

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