It looks like Christmas could be coming early, or late (depending on how you look at it) for devoted fans of the Star Wars franchise. After a quick director switch up turned up to impose a threat on the timeline of the forthcoming project, Deadline reports that Star Wars: Episode IX has been pushed back until Dec. 20, 2019.
The announcement, which was released shortly after it was revealed that JJ Abrams would assume the film's director position that was abruptly vacated by Colin Trevorrow just a week ago, will hopefully come as a bit of relief for fans who were wondering exactly where the project was headed amid the shocking change of hands.
Now that the final installment of the modern Skywalker trilogy has formally departed from its original Memorial Weekend release date of May 24, 2019, Deadline indicates that the shift will, no doubt, become a source of conflict for other films who will now have to scramble to find their place amidst Star Wars' newly-minted holiday debut. Of the many high profile features scheduled to compete with the Episode IX's new drop date are Wonder Woman 2, Wicked and Masters of the Universe – all of which are due to be released during the pre-Christmas season.
While it remains to be seen whether these productions will stick around to face the box office battle or seek refuge from the cinematic competition, fans should expect to see a bit of reorganization with the contenders' impending release dates, according to Collider.
The updated schedule keeps the the film on par with other recent offerings from the Star Wars family of films. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (scheduled to drop in 2017) have all boasted release dates that fell amid the coveted holiday season.
As holiday box office debuts continue to serve as prime real estate for the film industry, Star Wars' plan proves to be a highly favorable alternative in terms of options for a 2019 release. After, presumably, realizing that they would miss the mark on the scheduled summer opening, IX decided to stake claim on the industry's second most profitable season of the year. The extension will hopefully be worth the wait for fans of the franchise, allowing Abrams ample time to work his directorial magic on the upcoming release.
Needless to say, Star Wars really needs no prime time spot in order to be successful with ticket sales. However, the latest move will, hands down, solidify the movie's position as the box office champion of Holiday 2019 — just as it has in the previous two years.
It's certainly great to hear that Star Wars: Episode IX is back on track and officially making its debut for holiday season 2019. Fans can sigh in relief knowing that the production has managed to pick up the pieces so quickly, and will get things rolling in the (fingers crossed) right direction.