'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Release Delayed to Dec. 2017 | NBC Bay Area

'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Release Delayed to Dec. 2017

The date change pushes back the anticipated "Star Wars" installment set to follow the box-office hit "The Force Awakens."

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    Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Ph: David James ©Lucasfilm 2015

    The release of "Star Wars: Episode VIII" has been delayed from May 2017 to December 2017.

    The Walt Disney Co. announced the new release date, Dec. 15, on Wednesday. The date change pushes back the anticipated "Star Wars" installment set to follow the box-office hit "The Force Awakens."

    'Force Awakens" smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861M and the third biggest global release ever with $1.887B.

    The eighth chapter in the saga is to be written and directed by Rian Johnson. Production is scheduled to begin next month in London.

    In the interim, the "Star Wars" spin-off "Rogue One" is due out Dec. 16 this year. Directed by Gareth Edwards ("Godzilla"), it stars a cast including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Riz Ahmed.

    With "Star Wars: Episode VIII" jumping to Dec. 2017, Disney’s "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" will set sail on May 26, 2017, from its previously scheduled July 7, 2017, berth. The blockbuster franchise’s previous installment, the $1B-grossing "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," also debuted in late May.