Live-Action FilmUntitled Trilogy

Disney Confirms release calendar for next three Star Wars films and Indiana Jones 5!

It is exciting and it kind of burns a little.

The release schedule for the next Star Wars films show a pattern of alternating years between the Avatar sequels. 2022, 2024, and 2026 should be the years that our next Star Wars trilogy is released after the completion of The Skywalker Saga at the end of this year. It looks as if Disney having acquired Fox now will not pit the franchises against one another.

Most signs have pointed towards David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ trilogy being the first of the new films to hit. While there’s always a chance we could see two trilogies launching at the same time, it seems highly unlikely and it was suggested by Kathleen Kennedy at the last Star Wars Celebration that Rian Johnson was assisting the Game of Thrones show runners with their work which is likely a huge clue as to what has been prioritized and suggests that Rian Johnson’s trilogy isn’t dead but rather without a release window or will begin as late as 2028. 

  • 2019 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (12/20/19)
  • 2021 Indiana Jones 5 (7/9/21)
  • 2022 Star Wars (12/16/22)
  • 2024 Star Wars (12/20/24)
  • 2026 Star Wars (12/18/26)

What happens to this schedule if no one cares about the next Avatar sequels? While I would never count James Cameron out, the first film feels really forgettable beyond the spectacle of the 3D popularity wave at that time and it was perhaps slightly more special when we weren’t getting Star Wars films all the time.  Maybe with less Star Wars films coming out it keeps the “brand” fresh and allows the Disney monopoly to let everything have a year off to maintain freshness.

All in all, I’m not really disappointed as there’s three Star Wars films and an Indiana Jones movie coming over the next six years. That really is still a lot when you get down to it. It also allows Star Wars to feel a little more special. With a film a year, it seems impossible to keep everyone excited about it all to the level that we spend money on merchandise and care about consumer based events like Force Fridays.

All that said, the Star Wars fan in me is bummed they didn’t go with a back-to-back filming schedule to get us two Star Wars trilogies sooner than later. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the inclusion of another stab at a May released Star Wars film if they feel the demand. If something unforeseen really caught on like The Mandalorian leading to an insane demand for a Boba Fett movie, to pull an example out of no where.  At least that’s my hope.

We also should not forget that The Mandalorian is coming and there’s already work on a second season of that in the works. There will be a Cassian Andor television series for Disney+ in addition to more of The Mandalorian. Lucasfilm is also said to be working on a Willow television series for Disney+ as well. Those three films, those three TV shows, and more coming in animation paints a pretty full schedule of things for Star Wars and Lucasfilm fans to look forward to.

The press release:

The Walt Disney Studios has unveiled its upcoming slate following the recent acquisition of the Fox film studios, including changes to previously dated films and a number of major additions.

After kicking off with the record-setting success of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame, The Walt Disney Studios’ 2019 summer slate includes Disney’s Aladdinon May 24, Fox’s Dark Phoenix on June 7, Pixar’s Toy Story 4 on June 21, Fox’s Stuber on July 12, and Disney’s The Lion King on July 19. Fox 2000’s The Art of Racing in the Rain moves up to Aug. 9, and Fox Searchlight’s Ready or Not will release on Aug. 23, while three films move to later dates: Ad Astra (9/20/19), The New Mutants (4/3/20), and Artemis Fowl (5/29/20).

The Studios’ 2019 slate rounds out with Fox’s The Woman in the Window on Oct. 4 and Ford V. Ferrari on Nov. 15, Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Oct. 18 and Disney Animation’s Frozen 2 on Nov. 22, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Dec. 20, and Blue Sky Studios’ Spies in Disguise, moving from September to Christmas. Among early 2020 titles are Fox’s Underwater on Jan. 10, a new Kingsman movie on Feb. 14, and Call of the Wild on Feb. 21, followed by Pixar’s Onward on March 6 and Disney’s Mulan on March 27.

The updated calendar also sets release dates for major franchises Avatar and Star Wars. With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bringing the original Skywalker Saga to its conclusion, three new as-yet-untitled Star Wars films will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2022. Four forthcoming Avatar films, expanding the vibrant world of Pandora, will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2021. In the holiday corridor for 2020, Fox’s West Side Story adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg, will debut Dec. 18 in the pre-Christmas slot, with Disney’s Cruella opening Wednesday, Dec. 23, for the long holiday weekend.

“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. “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.”

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Jason Ward (EIC)

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