Though both “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: Rogue One” have December openings, the franchise moves back to May with the release of “Star Wars: Episode VIII” in May 2017.
One minor reason for the return that particular year is due to another high-profile sci-fi sequel on the way – James Cameron’s “Avatar”. Speaking with the Montreal Gazette this week, the filmmaker confirms that the first of his proposed new trilogy of “Avatar” sequels will stick to the planned release date:
“Christmas of 2017 is the target. At least, that’s what we’ve announced. But I don’t consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart. I call it a meta-narrative that runs across the three movies.
Each film stands alone, but it also tells one much larger story. We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It’s been about a two-year task. (We’ve finished) all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see.
The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So we’re really poised to start after the first of the year.”
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver are returning to the franchise for the sequels. The first film remains the biggest grosser of all time with $2.782 billion at the worldwide box office.