Star Wars: Episode VIII opens Dec. 15, 2017; filming in February

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Kylo Ren (Lucasfilm/Disney via Empire Online)

Lucasfilm and Disney announced Wednesday that Star Wars: Episode VIII will open on Dec. 15, 2017, just shy of two years after The Force Awakens.

The as-yet-untitled film is being written and directed by Rian Johnson and begins principal photography next month in London.

Episode VIII delayed? Yes, it was originally scheduled for May 26, 2017 — but then, The Force Awakens was pushed back from a summer release to a winter release, so this development just tracks with that. Chill out, doomsayers! With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story still set (for now) for a Dec. 16, 2016, release, it just means more annual holiday Star Wars goodness for all.

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which had been set for July 2017, benefits from the Episode VIII delay by moving up to the May 26 slot it leaves behind. Yo, ho ho!

Hat tip to Justin Bolger!

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