So much for a slowdown. While Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger recently indicated that the studio’s “Star Wars” series would take a break after the December release of J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the studio has now announced release dates for no less than three new untitled “Star Wars” features, kicking off in December 2022 and continuing in December 2024 and 2026. Last month, Iger told Bloomberg that Disney and Lucasfilm planned to put a “pause” on franchise films after Abrams’ latest hits theaters, but it appears to be a pause that will only stretch into the next three years.
“We will take a pause, some time, and reset, because the Skywalker Saga comes to an end with this ninth movie,” Iger said at the time. “There will be other ‘Star Wars’ movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus.”
Starting in 2022, those “other” films appear to be coming to fruition, though it’s unclear which films are emerging first. In recent years, Disney has announced two new film trilogies for the blockbuster franchise — including one created by “The Last Jedi” filmmaker Rian Johnson and another one helmed by “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — but details have remained slim on what big series will come after “Episode IX.” Last month, Johnson told press at CinemaCon that he was eager to get to work on his trilogy after debuting his “Knives Out” later this year, while Benioff and Weiss will see the end of their beloved HBO series in the coming weeks.
The calendar changes updates a previously-listed 2022 “Untitled Disney Live Action” film to “Untitled Star Wars,” and will hit theaters on December 16, 2022. The studio also added a pair of “Untitled Star Wars” to round out the new listing of titles, with one hitting on December 20, 2024 and the following coming on December 18, 2026.
“We’re excited to put in place a robust and diverse slate that lays the foundation of our long-term strategy, bringing together a breadth of films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Blue Sky Studios to create an extraordinary collection of cinematic experiences for audiences around the world,” said Cathleen Taff, President, Theatrical Distribution, Franchise Management, and Business & Audience Insights, The Walt Disney Studios, in an official statement. “With a strong summer already in place, we are eager to carry that momentum forward over the coming years thanks to a creative wellspring of bold and imaginative stories coming from our world-class studios – including several new chapters of two revered franchises, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Star Wars.’”
Disney will release “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in theaters nationwide December 20.