The Dark Side delivered us a massive blow on Wednesday afternoon when we learned that the next Star Wars episode we’re all looking forward to will be delayed by more than six months. Instead of premiering in late May 2017, Star Wars VIII will hit theaters in mid-December next year, almost two years after Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Disney did not say why Star Wars VIII was postponed, choosing instead to focus on the theatrical success of Episode VII in its announcement. but it did reveal that principal photography for the second installment in the new trilogy will begin next month in London.
Unconfirmed reports now claim that fan reaction to The Force Awakens might be the reason Disney has delayed filming of the next installment. Apparently, Disney executives want to further develop the characters of Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron in the upcoming movie, and that means screenplay rewrites are in order.
These three characters definitely impressed fans the most, particularly the new lead heroine. Rey captured the imagination of fans, who are desperately looking to find out who she is and what her true mission is.
In the latest episode of Meet the Movie Press, The Wrap’s Jef Sneider said he had heard rumblings that Rian Johnson has to modify the screenplay to minimize the roles of two new female characters central to Episode VIII as it is currently written, to focus more on the new trio of heroes who were the focus of The Force Awakens.
The screenplay for Episode VIII is much darker, John Boyega told the press, with J.J. Abrams saying that it’s so good he wished he was directing it. Instead, Abrams is executive producing Episode VIII, with Johnson manning the director’s chair.
Needless to say, no actual details about the script for Episode VIII have been released, and you shouldn’t expect any leaks either.
Interestingly, the delay of Episode VIII means that Star Wars will go up against James Cameron’s Avatar sequel and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One in December next year.
One other detail Disney has yet to mention is the actual name of Episode VIII. But The Independent learned that the secret working title is Star Wars: Space Bear. Mind you, that’s not the theatrical name, just a codename that the film is referred to internally, according to Movie Casting Call. Previous reports also mentioned Space Bear as the secret name for Star Wars 8.
Similarly, The Force Awakens was codenamed Foodless Production Ltd., while Return of the Jedi was known as Blue Harvest.
The following clip elaborates on this new Star Wars rewrite rumor – make sure to watch it from the 23-minute mark.