Disney and LucasFilm announced on Wednesday that Star Wars: Episode VIII will release on December 15, 2017.
Episode VIII was originally scheduled to be released on May 26, 2017, forty years to the day that the Star Wars: A New Hope was released. However, due to Star Wars: The Force Awakens demolishing box office records this past December, it was only logical that Disney would release the next Star Wars film around the same time of year.
The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars film to premiere outside of the summer blockbuster window. As a result, The Force Awakens demolished box office records, setting the record for biggest domestic and global debut. The film is the third highest domestic grossing film of all time, earning approximately $851.3 million, and currently sits as the third largest global release of all-time, earning $1.872 billion.
According to the announcement on StarWars.com, Episode VIII is in the pre-production phase and will begin shooting next month in London. Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick, Breaking Bad) will write & direct the film, with LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman (Looper) producing. J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin and Tom Karnowski will serve as executive producers.
More announcements regarding Episode VIII will be revealed in the upcoming weeks.