'Star Wars Episode VIII' Opens In May 2017

Rian Johnson has just been confirmed as the director of Star Wars Episode VIII via a Disney shareholders call. Along with that news, we've got the Star Wars Episode VIII release date: May 26, 2017.

The official Star Wars site confirms the report. We've known that Johnson would write and direct the next major Star Wars chapter, but we'll take the confirmation.

More interesting is that the release of Episode VIII brings the series back to its traditional May opening spot after the push to December for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This release date is also forty years and one day after the opening of the original Star Wars in 1977.

(J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy had reportedly asked Disney to push The Force Awakens back to May 2016, but that didn't happen.)

We don't know anything about the cast or story of Episode VIII at this point, other than the fact that many people will carry forward from The Force Awakens. But since the story of that film remains generally unknown at this point, we have nothing to go on as far as expectations for the Episode VIII story.

Reports say Daisy Ridley will be in all three upcoming major Episodes, but that is unconfirmed. Mark Ruffalo, who appeared in Johnson's second film The Brothers Bloomasked to be in Johnson's Star Wars film, but we don't know how that worked out. Rian Johnson has also been said to be writing Star Wars Episode IX, but we don't have confirmation of that at this point.

Here's an official rundown of the eighth major Star Wars film:

[Bob] Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is set for release on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. Johnson is widely considered one of cinema's most gifted young filmmakers, having directed the modern sci-fi classic, Looper, as well as Brick and The Brothers Bloom. He was also behind the camera for three episodes of the critically-acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, including "Ozymandias," which series creator Vince Gilligan named as the best installment of the show. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, producer of LooperDon JonBrick, and The Brothers Bloom, are on board to produce.

During the same shareholders call, Bob Iger revealed the title of the series' first spin-off movie. That will be called Star Wars: Rogue One, with Felicity Jones confirmed to star and a release date of December 16, 2016. There are no story details, but here's the official wording:

Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones, who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything. The idea for the story of Rogue One came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic.