In wake of the news earlier today that J.J. Abrams has been hired to write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX, Lucasfilm subsequently announced that the film has been pushed back to a December 20, 2019 release. It had originally been scheduled to release in May 2019.
This should come as absolutely no surprise. The December releases have been enormously successful for Star Wars the last two years and figures to be once again this year, and so with the change in writers and directors it made sense to push things back a few months to give Abrams and company enough time to make the best film possible. Remember, The Force Awakens was originally supposed to come out in May 2015 before Abrams and Lucasfilm pushed it back to December.
The bigger surprise is that Ron Howard’s untitled Han Solo movie has not yet been pushed back to December, as it is still slated for a May 2018 release. I still wonder if it might be pushed back, but the fact that it hasn’t been yet is interesting. And now with Episode IX moving to December 2019, there doesn’t seem to be much reason not to move Han Solo to December 2018. We would have two Star Wars movies in a six-month span before a one-and-a-half year wait for the next one; so it would give Han Solo some time to breathe on its own and get out of The Last Jedi’s shadow, while also shortening the wait for Episode IX.
That’s a different discussion, though; what we do know is that Lucasfilm has pushed back Episode IX to a December release after hiring J.J. Abrams to write and direct the final film of this sequel trilogy.