Earlier this week it was announced that JJ Abrams would be taking over from Colin Trevorrow in directing and co-writing Star Wars Episode XI. A day later it was also announced that Episode XI’s released date was being pushed back from the scheduled May 2019 to December 2019 (I assume) to allow time to re-write the script and prep the necessary pre-production bits.
My blog post last week highlighted that 4 out of 6 Star Wars directors have been removed from directing their respective Star Wars films and it was beginning to start a bit of a trend. There’s now another trend emerging, every "Episode" version of the Star Wars movies has originally been scheduled for a May release but has then been moved back to December.
When the new Star Wars trilogy was announced Episode VII The Force Awakens was originally planned for May 2015, however when JJ Abrams joined, he needed more time to sort out the script and the date was pushed back to December 2015. Before that film was even released it was announced Episode VIII would see a May 2017 release. However, The Force Awakens saw huge success in the December release slot with little direct blockbuster movie competition, and then when Rian Jonson came on board for Episode VIII The Last Jedi, it was also then decided to move that film back from May to December. Seeing the success The Force Awakens had received, this seemed like a no-brainer and I thought all Star Wars movies would see a December release (the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One also released in December 2016).
However, it was then announced that Star War Episode IX would release in May 2019, which I really didn’t understand. Based on The Force Awakens and Rogue One, Star Wars movie are clearly successful being released in December. So why keep trying to push the films to a May release date, when you also generally get more competition from other franchise movies.
The other thing that makes this even stranger is Marvel Studios. You see, Disney owns both Lucas Film and Marvel Studios, the production studios behind the two biggest franchises in the world at the moment. Marvel Studios tend to release 2 -3 movies a year, with the biggest of those movies usually reserved for a May launch. So just from a pure business sense, why would you want to release your two biggest movies within weeks of each other so they compete with one another.
Surely you’d make more money spreading these releases as far apart as possible? Now of course this has happened by accident, but it seems odd that this wasn’t the original plan. I do wonder if after this, Lucasfilm will just commit to Star Wars movies releasing annually in December rather than trying to meet the May release date for whatever reason.
It’ll be quite interesting to see what happens with the Han Solo movie. It’s currently still set for a May 2018 release, yet we know there has been loads of problems on set with its original directors being fired, so it’s going to be tight to hit the release date. Not to mention Avengers: Infinity War is releasing just a few weeks earlier so from a profits perspective I think it makes sense to move that back to December 2018. Wonder if they will...
So in my mind, Star Wars movies should launch in December as standard, and then Marvel release their films throughout the year with a flagship Marvel film in May.
What do you think?