We probably should have seen this coming: after announcing yesterday that JJ Abrams will take over from Colin Trevorrow as director of Star Wars Episode IX, Disney have pushed the release date back by seven months, to 20th December 2019.
The film was initially scheduled to arrive in May of the same year, but due to recent behind-the-scenes complications the producers have made the decision to give the new director a little breathing space with which to finalise his cut of the film.
It was one of a slew of changes made to Disney’s release calendar, including moving the live-action Aladdin reboot forward to 24th of May to fill the Star Wars-shaped hole at the beginning of the summer box office, and pulling family comedy Magic Camp – a Mark Waters project from a story by veteran comedian Steve Martin – from its slot in April 2018.
Several other highly anticipated Disney films now have release dates, including the untitled Ewan McGregor-led Christopher Robin movie, which will arrive in theatres in August 2018, the highly-anticipated Artemis Fowl adaptation, which is set for August 2019, and bizarre-sounding Christmas movie Nicole, which stars Anna Kendrick as Santa Clause, which comes out in November 2019.
Bear in mind, these dates are thus far only confirmed for US cinemas, but Disney have been good for getting their films out at the same time internationally. They are also, as ever, subject to change.
Star Wars: Episode IX will be released in UK cinemas at Christmas 2019