Star Wars is returning to theaters in the summer. Yesterday, Lucasfilm released the first cast photo of the upcoming standalone Han Solo film, announcing that production had begun. Along with the release was another nugget of information: the film will open in theaters on May 25th, 2018.
That date should be familiar to fans: May 25th is the original release date of A New Hope back in 1977, and up until The Force Awakens, every live-action Star Wars film hit theaters in May, at the beginning of the blockbuster season. (The one exception is The Clone Wars theatrical film, which hit theaters in August).
The announcement also confirmed the cast, featuring Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Joonas Suotamo as supporting characters.
The Force Awakens hit theaters in December, despite initial plans for a summer release date. When Disney announced The Last Jedi, it was with a May 2017 release date, but that was later bumped back to December. Now, it seems that the company is trying to pivot the franchise back into the summer movie season.
Moving Han Solo puts it out of the way of Fantastic Beasts 2 (November 16th) and Avatar 2 (December 21st), but does put it into the traditional scrum of the summer blockbuster season. That summer is already pretty busy, and it will put the Han Solo film in the company of Avengers: Infinity War (May 4th), a Transformers spinoff (June 8th), The Incredibles 2 (June 15th), and Jurassic World 2 (June 22nd), which could dampen its box office returns slightly. Still, the last two Star Wars films have done incredibly well financially, and future installments will likely be successful no matter where they’re put on the schedule. The film could also be delayed like the others, but previous delays have typically happened before the start of filming.
Ultimately, what it means is that we’ll get two Star Wars films in the next 15 months, and for those of you waiting in line, it means that you’ll get to do so in the warmer summer month of May, rather than in the middle of winter.