Star Wars: Episode IX is to be released in May 2019.
The final installment in the new trilogy in the sci-fi saga will not hit cinemas in December like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and spin-off movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Disney has confirmed it will be out on May 24, 2019.
The studio has also confirmed that the untitled Han Solo film – starring Alden Ehrenreich as the space smuggler, who was originally portrayed by Harrison Ford – will come out on May 25, 2018.
The change in release schedule is believed to have been made for commercial reasons as Disney will be able to cash-in on Memorial Day weekend audiences in the US and get a double spike in merchandise sales from the post-release buzz and from the Christmas period.
Very few details are known about the plot of Episode IX but it is believed a treatment penned by Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer-and-director Rian Johnson is the basis and he has been working closely with Jurassic World filmmaker Colin Trevorrow, who is to helm the project.
Meanwhile, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed the late Carrie Fisher will not be appearing in Star Wars: Episode IX in any form following her tragic death last December at the age of 60.
Carrie’s brother Todd Fisher had claimed his sister would feature as Princess Leia from the use of archive footage but Kennedy has put an end to these claims.
She said: “Sadly, Carrie will not be in nine. But we will see a lot of Carrie in Eight.”
Disney and Lucasfilm announced via a statement released in January that they had no plans to “digitally recreate” the character of Princess Leia for the movie, as they did in Rogue One to show the character as she appeared in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
They said in a statement: “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.
“Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to ‘Star Wars’.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on December 15, 2017 and sees the return of John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Dohmnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Andy Serkis (Snoke).
Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran are all newcomers to the franchise.