Anyone who thought J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was going to be the last we see of that franchise, clearly hasn’t been paying attention, as Disney and Lucasfilm has earmarked three holiday dates between 2022 and 2026 for three untitled Star Wars films.
In semi-related news that surprised absolutely no one, 20th Century Fox’s new overlords at Disney has delayed the repeatedly-delayed The New Mutants movie back to April 3, 2020. For a long time, it had settled on an early August release date but that was after reported reshoots and being delayed from last year. A few people thought that it might just get dumped to the Disney+ streaming service when it launches in the Fall, but Bob Iger has stated that it would get a theatrical release.
Disney-Fox announced a number of new release dates today, as reported by Deadline, but those two might be the most interesting of the announcements. There has been development on a number of new Star Wars trilogies, one masterminded by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, the other being produced by Game of Thrones producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. There’s no word on which one of these trilogies will see the light of day first, but Lucasfilm has reserved the dates of Dec. 16, 2022; Dec. 20, 2024; and Dec. 18, 2026 for those movies.
It might be good to note that one of those dates was the previous date set for James Cameron’s Avatar 4, as the filmmaker is in the process of making four sequels at once. Disney isn’t reneging from those plans, having the fourth and fifth Avatar films open on Dec. 19, 2025 and Dec. 17, 2027, one between two of those new Star Wars movies and the other after the latest trilogy is complete.
UPDATE: Avatar 2: The Way of the Water has been delayed until Dec. 17, 2021 to make room for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story adaptation on Dec. 18, 2020 and the Emma Stone Cruella movie, based on the 101 Dalmations villain, a few days later on Dec. 23. Avatar 3 will be released two years after on Dec. 22, 2023 followed by Avatar 4 and 5 on similar Dec. dates in 2025 and 2027,
Disney also delayed Kenneth Branagh’s long-in-development fantasy film Artemis Fowl from its planned August release date to May 29, 2020. (Oddly, I literally just spoke to Branagh about this movie yesterday, an interview that will be live on The Beat later this week.)
The other date set was for James Gray’s sci-fi film Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt,which had already been moved from its planned Memorial Day release — where it would conflict with Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin — and that will now be released on September 20, a better date for a prestige film potentially going for awards and a film festival premiere.
Other changes to planned Fox releases include the Blue Sky Studios’ animated film Spies in Disguise, which will now be released over Christmas, moving the Call of the Wild adaptation to Feb. 21, 2020. Other Fox films set for early 2020 include Matthew Vaughn’s third Kingsman movie on Feb. 14 and the Kristen Stewart disaster film Underwater is set for Jan. 10.
The proposed Gambit movie starring Channing Tatum has once again been entirely removed from the schedule, but still no word on any of the Marvel movies currently scheduled for 2020 and beyond. Presumably, Marvel Prez Kevin Feige will be making that announcement sometime soon.
Edward Douglas has been writing about movies and other forms of entertainment for over 25 years, so he’s probably older than you.