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Disney Announces New ‘Star Wars’ Films, Moves ‘Avatar’ Sequels

Moviegoers will have to wait a little longer to return to Pandora.

James Cameron’s long-awaited and oft-delayed follow-up to “Avatar” has been pushed back another year. “Avatar 2” will hit theaters on Dec. 17, 2021 instead of Dec. 18, 2020 as originally planned. Its move means that “Avatar 3” will open on Dec. 22, 2023 as opposed to Dec. 17, 2021 while “Avatar 4” will bow on Dec. 19, 2025 instead of Dec. 20, 2024 and “Avatar 5” will launch Dec. 17, 2027.

The news comes as part of a larger shift in release dates unveiled by Walt Disney Studios. The company is moving around the debuts of various movies it inherited after buying the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets in a $71.3 billion mega-merger.

As part of the great release date shake-up, Disney announced there will be a trio of untitled “Star Wars” entries. These will hit theaters after “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” brings the Skywalker spinoff saga to a close this December. The first of the new three films will hit the big screen on Dec. 16, 2022. There will be two other follow-ups that will premiere in the Christmas corridor on Dec. 20, 2024 and Dec. 18, 2026. The news means that Disney is poised to dominate the busy holiday movie-going season for the foreseeable future, as it alternates between “Avatar” and “Star Wars” films. Moviegoers will be treated to new Na’vi and Jedi adventures each year between 2021 and 2027.

Following its box office behemoth “Avengers: Endgame,” Disney has also adjusted a few upcoming Marvel releases. Fox’s “The New Mutants,” an “X-Men” film with “Game of Thrones” star Maisie Williams, was pushed back from Aug. 2, 2019 to April 3, 2020. Meanwhile, “Gambit,” another Fox-owned “X-Men” entry, was removed from the studio’s schedule. The Channing Tatum-led spinoff was previously dated for March 13, 2020.

But that’s not all. In 2020, Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” adaptation” will bow on Dec. 18, while “Cruella,” a live-action “101 Dalmatians” spin-off, will launch Dec. 23 ahead of the long holiday weekend.

As expected, “Ad Astra,” an astronaut drama starring Brad Pitt, will now lift off Sept. 20, 2019. The movie had barely received any promotion ahead of its original Memorial Day weekend slot, so a delay was all but inevitable. A handful of summer 2019 releases were also shifted around, including Fox 2000’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” which was moved up to Aug. 9, and Fox Searchlight’s “Ready or Not,” now debuting Aug. 23. Meanwhile, “Artemis Fowel,” a YA adaptation, once scheduled for Aug. 9, 2019, is now dated for May 29, 2020.

“We’re excited to put in place a robust and diverse slate that lays the foundation of our long-term strategy, bringing together a breadth of films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Blue Sky Studios to create an extraordinary collection of cinematic experiences for audiences around the world,” said Cathleen Taff, the studio’s president of theatrical distribution, in a statement. “With a strong summer already in place, we are eager to carry that momentum forward over the coming years thanks to a creative wellspring of bold and imaginative stories coming from our world-class studios — including several new chapters of two revered franchises, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Star Wars.'”

TRENDING ON VARIETY:

See the full updates to the release schedule below: 

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN (FOX) previously dated on 9/27/19 moves to 8/9/19

READY OR NOT (FSL) is now dated on 8/23/19

AD ASTRA (FOX) previously dated on 5/24/19 moves to 9/20/19

FORD v. FERRARI (FOX) is the updated title of previous UNTITLED JAMES MANGOLD PROJECT dated on 11/15/19

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (DIS) is the updated title of previous STAR WARS: EPISODE IX dated on 12/20/19

SPIES IN DISGUISE (FOX) previously dated on 9/13/19 moves to 12/25/19

UNDERWATER (FOX) is now dated on 1/10/20

CALL OF THE WILD (FOX) previously dated on 12/25/19 moves to 2/21/20

THE NEW MUTANTS (FOX) previously dated on 8/2/19 moves to 4/3/20

ARTEMIS FOWL (DIS) previously dated on 8/9/19 moves to 5/29/20

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (DIS) is the updated title of previous UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION dated on 2/14/20, and moves to 8/14/20

DEATH ON THE NILE (FOX) previously dated on 10/2/20 moves to 10/9/20

WEST SIDE STORY (FOX) is now dated on 12/18/20

CRUELLA (DIS) is the updated title of previous UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION dated on 12/23/20

NIMONA (FOX) previously dated on 2/14/20 moves to 3/5/21

AVATAR 2 (FOX) previously dated on 12/18/20 moves to 12/17/21

UNTITLED STAR WARS (DIS) is the updated title of previous UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION dated on 12/16/22

AVATAR 3 (FOX) previously dated on 12/17/21 moves to 12/22/23

UNTITLED STAR WARS (DIS) is now dated on 12/20/24

AVATAR 4 (FOX) previously dated on 12/20/24 is now dated on 12/19/25

UNTITLED STAR WARS (DIS) is now dated on 12/18/26

AVATAR 5 (FOX) previously dated on 12/19/25 moves to 12/17/27

GAMBIT (FOX) previously dated on 3/13/20 is removed from schedule

UNTITLED FOX MARVEL (FOX) previously dated on 6/26/20 is removed from schedule

UNTITLED FOX MARVEL (FOX) previously dated on 10/2/20 is removed from schedule

UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION (DIS) previously dated on 10/9/20 is removed from schedule

UNTITLED FOX MARVEL (FOX) previously dated on 3/5/21 is removed from schedule

FOSTER (FOX) previously dated on 3/5/21 is removed from schedule

UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION (DIS) previously dated on 12/22/21 is removed from schedule

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