UPDATE: In an early Christmas present, it's been revealed that Star Wars Episode IX WILL be returning to a December release date after all, following the departure of director Colin Trevorrow and the hiring of writer/director JJ Abrams. Our letters to Father Christmas got through!
Since its return to screens in winter 2015, Star Wars has become a Christmas tradition. The Force Awakens, spin-off Rogue One and upcoming sequel The Last Jedi were all given mid-December release dates just over a week before the big day, and to many fans the new movies have already become an essential part of the festive build-up.
I have to confess, I’m one of them. Having Star Wars removed from the glut of big summer blockbusters is a nice, simple way of differentiating the saga from every other special effects-laden epic out there, and having a release date at a time when many people are visiting families with more free time makes for great multi-generational viewing experiences. Oh, and having lots of Star Wars-themed gifts in the shops in time for the 25th doesn’t hurt either.
The Christmas Star Wars releases have just been a bit different, a nice break from tradition, a perfect end to the year for fans of sci-fi and movies – so imagine my disappointment at the news that upcoming threequel Star Wars Episode 9 will now be released in May 2019 INSTEAD of December.
As I read the news, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices had tweeted out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
I should have seen the signs – the upcoming 2018 Han Solo movie had a May release date already, which was disappointing in of itself, and Rogue One was originally supposed to come out in May as well – but now it’s official. After this year, Star Wars at Christmas is dead.
Gone are the days when I could claim the Imperial March was a festive carol. No longer can I just bring The Force Awakens to Christmas movie nights and engage in long technical arguments with the host about genre. And if you think you’ll get away with wearing a Darth Vader costume instead of a Santa one after this year, forget about it. Truly, the end times are here.
But what’s really galling is what this will mean for the fledging Star Wars Christmas gift industry. Now when I wear my R2-D2 Santa hat, or hang up my Chewbacca stocking, I won’t look like I have my finger on the pulse of modern cinema – I’ll just look WEIRD.
When donning my Merry Sithmas jumper, I wont be engaging in pop culturally relevant mixed-media celebration – I’ll just be making a bad pun that’s not even linked to the holidays.
And what, I ask you, am I supposed to do with all my Darth Vader tree ornaments and stormtrooper tinsel? Just “put them away”? “Grow up and get normal decorations like anyone else would”?? “Stop going on about Star Wars decorations Huw, or I’m going to stay at my mother’s again, this obsession is unhealthy"???
No – the only true path for any true Star Wars is to stay strong and put off seeing Episode 9 for seven months until December.
Arguably, we COULD just get over it and rewatch it on DVD in December instead, but in an increasingly secular and commercialised world, it’s important to keep Christmas traditions alive – and spending loads of money on cinema tickets and merchandise for a story about monks with magic glowsticks is one I’m just not willing to part with. Keep the faith – it’s what baby Jesus would have wanted.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on the 15th December, so we can at least enjoy that one before it all goes to hell