There has been a disturbance in the force. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the rumors that production on the sequel to The Force Awakens will be delayed are in fact true. THR is now reporting that Lucasfilm will push back the theatrical release for Star Wars Episode VIII from May 26, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
The Internet was ablaze with rumors earlier that production on the new film had been temporarily halted. Some sources were reporting that the script was being revised to put more emphasis on the three main protagonists from TFA (Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron). It’s likely that if this is true this is a response to fan reaction not only to the film, but the warm embrace given to the three new leads. Critics and fans have generally raved about scavenger turned Jedi protegé Rey (Daisy Ridley), stormtrooper turned hero Finn (John Boyega) and “the best pilot in the Resistance” in Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
How these revisions will impact the film’s plot or the overall story arc of the new trilogy is unknown. Key questions remain to explored involving all three main characters as well as chief antagonists Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Then of course, there are all those questions about Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
The seven month delay should not be a red flag to fans across the galaxy. The Force Awakens was also moved from its original release date of May 2016 to December 2016. That seemed to work out just fine.
However the move does set up a potential showdown with James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar sequel. currently, Avatar 2 is holding a December 25, 2017 release date and that would easily put the two films head-to-head at the box office. Given that film’s history of delays, smart money says that 20th Century Fox blinks first and moves Avatar 2 to sometime in 2018. But if not, December 2017 might give us one of the greatest box office showdowns in film history.