Star Wars Episode 8 Delayed to December 2017

Six months later.

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Star Wars: Episode VIII has been delayed. Previously scheduled to arrive May 26, 2017, the sci-fi film has now been pushed out by six months to a new premiere date of December 15, 2017.

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Episode VIII is written and directed by by Looper's Rian Johnson. In a news release today, Disney said the movie is now in the pre-production phase, with principal photography set to start next month in London.

The Force Awakens enjoyed a huge box office performance during its December 2015 opening. It's the biggest domestic release of all time ($861 million) and the No. 3 movie ever globally ($1.887 billion), behind only Titanic and Avatar.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times last month, Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan suggested that Episode VIII and IX might differ from what he and JJ Abrams made with The Force Awakens. "These movies will all be so different," he said. "Rian Johnson [the director of Episode 8] is a friend of mine--he's going to make some weird thing.

"If you've seen Rian's work, you know it's not going be like anything that's ever been in Star Wars. You couldn't have three more different people than JJ, Rian, and Colin [Trevorrow, director of Episode 9]. Those movies will have the Star Wars saga as their basis, but everything else will be different."

Taking Episode VIII's former May 2017 release date is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. This Disney film, which sees Orlando Bloom return as Will Turner, was previously expected to open on July 7, 2017. The movie also stars Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa.

The new bad guy is Captain Salazar, who will be played by Javier Bardem.

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