Yesterday, Disney did something quite out of character. They released their movie schedule through 2027. That’s the year we will be drinking Mars juice with President Taylor Swift. The releases included some of the upcoming Fox properties that Disney now owns. The two big ones though, are the Star Wars films, and the Avatar sequels.
Starting in 2021 with Avatar 2, the franchise will switch off with the Star Wars to take Disney’s coveted “week before Christmas” slot.
12/17/21: Avatar 2 (FOX)
12/16/22: Untitled Star Wars (DIS)
12/22/23: Avatar 3 (FOX)
12/20/24: Untitled Star Wars (DIS)
12/19/25: Avatar 4 (FOX)
12/18/26: Untitled Star Wars (DIS)
12/17/27: Avatar 5 (FOX)
That week is going to make all of the money of the year for the foreseeable future. Disney is the master at dropping information, and telling us nothing at all. First of all, dates are fluid. They could change. Secondly, this is assuming that Disney doesn’t buy anything else. When they buy Netflix, Warner Bros, Paramount, Apple, Amazon, Google, Canada, Universal, Coca-Cola, and Lionsgate, they will have to readjust their schedule.
We don’t know which Star Wars movies those are. As far as what we officially know right now: Rian Johnson is a developing a standalone trilogy, and the Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss are developing a separate standalone trilogy. It is possible that there will be single standalone pictures as well. (Make a Kenobi flick, Lucasfilm!)
It is possible that Benioff and Weiss make theirs first, then Johnson. If there was to be a Star Wars flick every year, it would be ideal to alternate between chapters of both trilogies. But since Disney will force us to stop in Pandora every other year instead, this release structure make sense for them to do one trilogy at a time since there will already be an almost 2 year break between entries.
There are only three Star Wars movies on the calendar. We know that at least 6 are happening. I would be very surprised if that was it. While the thought of new trilogies are fun, one-offs shouldn’t be abandoned. Of course, Disney+ will play into this as well. Lucasfilm’s stance right now is that all Star Wars movies will be released theatrically. Disney+ will be used for long form storytelling like The Mandalorian. But Lucasfilm will ride the wave, and as the market continues to change, I can see them committing to a low-budget flick for the service. But it is a safe bet that there will be Star Wars movies in theaters in 2028 and beyond.
As for Avatar, there hasn’t been talks of plans past Avatar 5, but never say never. Even if James Cameron announces he’s done, the universe can continue in some way if Disney feels they can take more money from you.
After The Rise Of Skywalker airs in December, Star Wars will go away from theaters for the longest time since before The Force Awakens was released. It will still be present on TV, but there will be a break after the end of the Skywalker Saga, and the beginning of the expansion. However the story ends, at least it will have time to breathe, unlike Endgame, whose next chapter comes out on July 2nd.
It will be interesting to see what counter-programming other studios will put up against these juggernauts.
If you like these franchises, you have a lot to look forward to. If you don’t, well, at least the holiday season will have other options for you.