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It's official, three 'Star Wars' films in 18 months

Posted Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 4:37 PM Central
Last updated Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 7:44 PM Central

by John Couture

Tim and I consider ourselves to be quite lucky to work in the industry that we both love and adore. One of the fringe benefits of working in the film industry is that sometimes we get access to confidential information, but the trade-off is that we are often sworn to secrecy.

It's difficult when we also work on the Internet where information is king and getting it first trumps just about everything else. Most of the confidential information that we get comes in the form of advance street dates for home entertainment release. Sure, it's nice knowing when American Sniper is going to be on DVD/Blu-ray, but it's far from Earth-shattering information.

About a month ago, that all changed when we intuitively figured out that Disney was going to release Star Wars: Episode VIII in May of 2017, a mere 18 months after The Force Awakens and only five months after the first stand-alone Star Wars film. That's three Star Wars films in 18 months. My brain was melting and my ability to keep my lips sealed was tested unlike ever before.

Thankfully, Lucasfilm announced officially today that Star Wars: Episode VIII will indeed release in theaters on May 26, 2017 and that the first stand-alone Star Wars film will be called Star Wars: Rogue One. That second bit of information we were not privy to.

That sound you hear is my mind blowing apart again.

Also in the press release was confirmation that Felicity Jones has been cast in Rogue One and that film will debut in theaters on December 16, 2016. That's a whole lot of information to digest. The most pressing question is what will Rogue One be about? On face value, it would seem to be about X-Wing pilots and the nascent start of the rebel force.

One of the producers, Tony To worked with Steven Spielberg on Band of Brothers and The Pacific, so a military themed film seems the most logical at this point. A more intriguing question though is who Felicity Jones will be playing in Rogue One. Will she be an X-wing pilot? I hope so. I was sort of surprised that there were no female X-wing pilots at the battle of Yavin. I guess that might be a small spoiler alert on the fate of her character if it proves to be true.

With the drop in of Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017 that gives Disney two high profile films in May with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5, 2017. At first glance that seems a bit congested for Disney who normally likes to spread out its films so that each on is able to reach its potential.

However, as Jason DeMars from The Marvel Watch blog pointed out to me via Twitter, that would give Disney a new film in theaters every three weeks with Toy Story 4 on June 17 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on July 7. In other words, wow that is as impressive a release slate as I've seen from a studio perhaps ever.

All of these dates are tentative naturally and may change, but a part of me hopes that they don't so we can just spend every weekend at the theater in 2017.