The Star Wars: Episode IX hasn't been revealed yet, so when will Lucasfilm announce it? A month ago, director J.J. Abrams wrapped principal photography on the Skywalker saga finale, posting an emotional picture of stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac embracing on-set to commemorate the occasion. Normally at this time in the production process, fans know the actual name of the movie. The studio unveiled The Force Awakens on the day Abrams wrapped that film, and Ron Howard told the world his spinoff movie was called Solo when he concluded his extensive reshoots.
Clearly, Lucasfilm is mixing things up when it comes to Episode IX, and for good reason. This is not merely just another Star Wars film. This marks the end of an era that's defined the entire franchise since 1977. After Episode IX, Kathleen Kennedy and crew are moving on to new horizons in Rian Johnson's trilogy and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' series, which are both disconnected from the Skywalker story. This is the property's biggest event since it returned four years ago with Force Awakens, and Lucasfilm is taking the steps to underscore that. Fortunately, it won't be much longer until all is revealed.
Star Wars Celebration takes place this April in Chicago, and with there being an entire panel dedicated to Episode IX, it's widely expected the film's first trailer will debut there. And with the way things are going, it looks like Lucasfilm is going to pull a page out of the Marvel playbook and save the title announcement for the trailer, a la Avengers: Endgame.
This approach makes a good deal of sense. The obvious pre-Celebration time to drop the title would have been when Abrams wrapped shooting, and it didn't happen. That means Disney didn't give him permission to share the information at that time and they have big plans in store. Announcing the title in the back half of March would come across as random and arbitrary, raising questions as to why it was kept under wraps. And with Episode IX already one of the most anticipated movies of the year, there's no need to drum up buzz and excitement right now. Lucasfilm can wait until Celebration weekend, when Star Wars (along with Game of Thrones) will be dominating headlines. For context, this wouldn't be something unusual for Star Wars. Lucasfilm's Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2004 included a sizzle reel that announced Episode III as Revenge of the Sith.
There is always a possibility of a surprise reveal when people are least expecting it. After all, Marvel shocked the world by posting a new Endgame trailer with no advanced warning. But even there, people could understand the thought process. The MCU was riding the momentum of Captain Marvel's massive opening weekend and wanted to hype up Carol Danvers' return in a little over a month (as of this week, Endgame opens in six weeks, so a new preview was due soon anyway). Star Wars doesn't come out until December, so there's plenty of time to build up a substantial marketing campaign. Look for the floodgates to burst open a Celebration.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019