In a major overhaul, Disney has updated the studio’s and Fox’s theatrical release schedules.
As a part of that shake-up, multiple Fox and Disney titles have been rescheduled, unscheduled and revealed, including three untitled Star Wars movies.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will conclude the nine-picture saga that began with the original 1977 film, while what comes next has been a mystery. Disney has dated three untitled Star Wars films, the first hint of the franchise’s big-screen future. They are set for Dec. 16, 2022; Dec. 20, 2024; and Dec. 18, 2026.
While it is unclear what the new untitled Star Wars films will tackle, it is known that The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson is developing a trilogy, while Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are penning their own trilogy.
There’s been at least one Star Wars film every year since 2015’s The Force Awakens, but Disney has indicated it would take a big-screen breather after Rise of Skywalker, as Lucasfilm is focusing on series for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Projects including Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian and an untitled Diego Luna-led Rogue One prequel. At Star Wars Celebration last month in Chicago, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy told The Hollywood Reporter she was plotting out the future of Star Wars on the big screen in consultation with Johnson, Benioff, Weiss and Favreau.
“We are looking at the next saga. We are not just looking at another trilogy, we’re really looking at the next 10 years or more,” Kennedy said.
Meanwhile, James Cameron’s Avatar 2 and its follow-ups have been delayed again. The first of the planned sequel films has been pushed back a year, from Dec. 18, 2020, to Dec. 17, 2021; Avatar 3 has been moved back two years, from its previous December 2021 release date to Dec. 22, 2023; Avatar 4 has been delayed a year, from December 2024 to Dec. 19, 2025; and Avatar 5 has been shifted back two years from December 2025 to Dec. 17, 2027. The Avatar sequels have a long history of being delayed, with filmmaker James Cameron saying he needed more time to refine the technology for the films, which he is shooting consecutively. “Busy on set, so no time to hang around but just dropping in to share the news — Sivako!,” Cameron tweeted Tuesday after the news broke.
Taking the first of the planned Avatar sequels’ original date of Dec. 18, 2020, is Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.
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On the Marvel front, New Mutants, an X-Men film that was shot under the Fox regime, is moving from August of this year to April 3, 2020. The horror-tinged project has been delayed multiple times in the past and was originally slated to have opened on April 13, 2018. Sources have said the film needs reshoots before being released, and it has been speculated that Disney, led by Bob Iger, would forgo a theatrical release and instead put it on its Disney+ platform. Tuesday’s news suggests Disney is moving forward with a theatrical release.
Meanwhile, Gambit, a film about the card-throwing X-Men bad boy, has been removed from the calendar. Its previous date was April 13, 2020, but it was not expected to survive the move from Fox to Disney. Despite long having Channing Tatum set to star, the project had trouble getting off the ground, with a number of filmmakers coming and going over the years, including Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman and Gore Verbinski.
Other big date changes include Ad Astra, James Gray’s sci-fi feature starring Brad Pitt, which was originally scheduled to bow May 24. The movie has been moved to September in a possible awards play.
Disney’s adaptation of Artemis Fowl is moving from August of this year to May 2020, while the live-action movie Cruella, which has Emma Stone attached to star as the 101 Dalmatians villain, has been dated for a Christmas 2020 release.