The follow-up to 'The Force Awakens' will now open in cinemas in December 2017
Disney has delayed the release of the next Star Wars movie by around seven months.
Star Wars: Episode VIII had been due to open on May 26, 2017 but will now arrive in cinemas on December 15, 2017.
While this obviously gives director Rian Johnson longer to work on the film, it is likely that Disney decided to push back Episode VIII to December so it can mimic the successful pre-Christmas release strategy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Since its release in mid-December, J.J. Abrams’ film has raked in $1.872 billion (£1.32 billion) at the global box office, making it the third highest-grossing film of all time behind James Cameron’s Avatar and Titanic.
The Force Awakens‘ new characters played by Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) are all returning for Episode VIII, whose full title has yet to be announced, while Mark Hamill is also confirmed to reprise his iconic role as Luke Skywalker.
Meanwhile, Disney has now scheduled Pirates Of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales for release on May 26, 2017 – the day Episode VIII had been due to open. The pirate sequel starring Johnny Depp was originally earmarked for release on July 7, 2017.