As part of the reporting on Josh Trank’s departure from the “Tin Can” Anthology film was a mention by Variety that the film has been moved to a 2019 release date (from 2018). This leaves a hole in the release schedule, since Episode VIII is slated for release on May 26, 2017 and Episode IX is scheduled for 2019.
Let’s make one thing clear: Disney will not let a year go by without a Star Wars movie seeing release. They still need to make good on their $4b investment to their shareholders, and furthermore, a two-year gap between releases will lose momentum with audiences.
There are a few solutions as I see it.
Firstly, Episode IX could be moved forward to 2018. Rian Johnson has not only been writing Episode VIII but also the story treatment for Episode IX simultaneously. Conceivably Lucasfilm could ramp up pre-production on the third of the sequel trilogy right now, folding it into the work happening on Episode VIII, reuse sets from VIII’s production and even shoot some (or all) of the two movies back-to-back for a 2017-2018 one-two-punch release. This is, however, a big ask.
Secondly, another Anthology film is in the works and this could be swapped in for “Tin Can”. Per Hasbro, the original plan was the following:
- Episode VII for 2015
- Boba Fett for 2016
- Episode VIII for 2017
- Solo for 2018
- Episode IX for 2019
- Red Five for 2020
“Red Five” was obviously the working title for Rogue One, and it got moved forward four years (!) to 2016. “Tin Can” is Simon Kinberg’s Anthology film (and most likely the “Solo” project), and that’s now set for a 2019 release. That leaves Lawrence Kasdan’s Anthology film (most likely the “Boba Fett” project, though whether or not Kasdan is still working on it is anybody’s guess), which could be moved to 2018. For all we know, this could be the schedule:
- December 2015: The Force Awakens
- December 2016: Rogue One
- May 2017: Episode VIII
- May 2018: Boba Fett
- May 2019: Episode IX
- December 2019: Solo/”Tin Can”
Finally, they could simply find another director for “Tin Can” and press ahead with the 2018 release schedule. This, to me, seems to be the simplest solution. It still wouldn’t need to go into production until late next year.