New Star Wars Release Dates: May is the new December

By Adam Pawlus — Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Variety has a big story on a bunch of new movie release dates from Disney.   Of particular note, the as-of-yet untitled Episode IX has been given a date of May 24, 2019.  For those of you keeping track, the as-of-yet-Untitled Han Solo movie is set for May 2018 (still), and that's only 6 months after The Last Jedi hits theaters in December of this year.  

We don't know exactly why they're changing seasons for Star Wars, although it might have something to do with getting the heck out of the way of Avatar sequels or positioning Star Wars to take over for Marvel, which may be undergoing a retool of its own.   Indiana Jones 5 was also delayed to July of 2020.

From a toy business perspective, this could actually be really good news for Star Wars fans.   3344 Hasbro could reveal product at Toy Fair in February, with Force Friday in March, and the movie in May, with a healthy campaign of more new toys and home video formats in November - just in time for Christmas, to cash in on the new movie people saw and liked rather than counting on fans to buy all the toys prior to seeing the movie in the first place. 

Or so we hope. 

Hasbro has shifted away from really doing a great job marketing a whole second big push to coincide with the DVD window.  We saw a lot of that with Transformers movies and Iron Man flicks 5-10 years ago - now Hasbro pretty much lets the movie fade away as soon as home video hits, at which point they move along to the next phase.  This has been the norm for most of the last 5-6 years across its male entertainment/collector properties.

For 2018, it's notable that The Last Jedi will probably have its home video release around the same date (if not the exact same date) as Force Friday for the Han Solo movie.   If Lucasfilm plays their cards right, that could mean a March toy launch and a secondary push for "May the 4th Be With You," because no pun must go unpunished.

Given recent events in the news, December of 2020 - when the next Avatar is set to hit theaters - might indicate that getting Star Wars out of election season is a smart move.  In the USA, political news has been dominating newspapers as well as creeping in to entertainment reporting, and the next big US elections are the midterms in November of 2018.   The next presidential contest is November of 2020.  Getting Star Wars out of that news cycle certainly couldn't hurt, giving the Force and Jedi and things of this nature more attention far, far away from the Na'vi, elephants, donkeys, and Santa Claus.