With Star Wars Episode VIII and the Han Solo spinoff merely months apart from each other, expect the hype to eventually reach an all time high.
After over a decade of dormancy, the Star Wars universe is finally abuzz with news once again. Following Disney’s successful opening installment of the sequel films, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the creative minds behind the franchise’s resurgence are right back to business.
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Filming for the unnamed Star Wars Episode VIII has reportedly begun, with the upcoming movie set to be released in December 2017. The film was initially scheduled for a May release, however certain undisclosed factors forced the date back a full seven months. J.J. Abrams, who directed The Force Awakens, will be replaced by Rian Johnson (Looper) as the director of Episode VIII.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently told investors during a conference call:
“There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products. Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced, and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of EPISODE IX, a 2019 release, has also begun.”
In addition, the newly announced Han Solo film – the second installment of a set of planned spinoff Star Wars projects – is scheduled for release in May 2018. While it has yet to be revealed who will play everyone’s favorite swashbuckling space smuggler, the shortlist includes big name Hollywood stars such as Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Dave Franco.
The film will be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who masterminded the reboot of the 21 Jump Street franchise. Given their prowess in the field of comedy, we can likely expect the film to possess the classic charm and hilarity that sums up Han Solo and his Wookie sidekick Chewbacca.
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With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the spinoff following the Rebel theft of the Death Star plans – to be released later this year, Episode VIII in 2017, Han Solo in 2018 and Episode IX in 2019, Disney’s plans are to release exactly one film per year. And with such a plethora of Star Wars in the pipeline, fans everywhere are stricken with renewed space fever.
As a major long time Star Wars fanatic, I distinctly remember obsessively watching and re-watching all six of the original films repeatedly in my younger days. Unfortunately, as time extended further from the release of Revenge of the Sith, the hype surrounding the esteemed franchise began to wane with a lack of renewed material from Lucasfilm. With all these new projects set to be released in rapid fire fashion, however, the Star Wars franchise’s popularity has seemingly exploded back to its former heights.
So, rejoice everyone. Star Wars is back, and it’s not going anywhere for a long, long time.