Disney just pushed back the release of Star Wars: Episode IX from May 2019 to December 2019, Deadline reports. The news comes after an announcement today that J.J. Abrams is taking over from Colin Trevorrow as director of the movie.
Episode IX, originally slated to premiere on May 24th, 2019, was supposed to be a return to May release dates for the Star Wars franchise. Back in 2015, The Force Awakens was also originally supposed to be released in the summer, but was moved to a December release after Abrams took over screenwriting duties with Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) and needed more time.
This premiere day shift turned out to be the beginning of a pattern for Star Wars releases. In 2016, Episode VIII was also pushed back from a May to December release, giving director Rian Johnson more time to work on that project. Rogue One was released in December 2016. Currently, the Han Solo standalone film is still set for a May 2018 premiere.
Even if the timing hasn’t gone exactly according to plan, releasing Star Wars films during the holiday season doesn’t seem to have hurt Disney’s numbers. Both The Force Awakens and Rogue One were wildly profitable at the box office.