What we learned from Disney's release schedule

BBC Entertainment 08 May 2019 11:35
Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (left) and Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in AvatarImage copyright Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

Four Star Wars films, eight Marvel instalments, four Avatar sequels and a new Indiana Jones will be coming to cinemas over the coming years.

Those movies and more have been set out in Disney's latest release schedule.

We already knew Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is coming out this Christmas, but there will then be a three-year gap before the start of the next trilogy, which will follow between 2022-26.

And the long-awaited Avatar sequel has been pushed back again to 2021.

It had originally been slated for 2014, but was delayed to 2017, then 2020. It will be followed by three more sequels.

The releases of the four Avatar and three Star Wars films will alternate, with one released every Christmas between 2021 and 2027.

Star Wars release dates

  • 20 December 2019 - The Rise of Skywalker
  • 16 December 2022 - Untitled
  • 20 December 2024 - Untitled
  • 17 December 2021 - Avatar 2
  • 22 December 2023 - Avatar 3
  • 19 December 2025 - Avatar 4
  • 17 December 2027 - Avatar 5

The Disney schedule also includes eight unnamed Marvel films, which will reach cinemas between 2020-22.

Last November BBC News revealed four titles that were being considered for the Avatar sequels - The Way of Water, The Seed Bearer, The Tulkun Rider and The Quest for Eywa.

Analysis by BBC entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba

One consequence of 20th Century Fox being bought by Disney (already Hollywood's most successful studio) is that the new "superstudio" now has a huge number of forthcoming films on its roster.

However, some questions remain.

That said, while the Avatar films and their virtually-created worlds are pretty expensive to make, it's likely that the first two sequels were already for the most part paid for by Fox before the Disney deal happened. So the financial risk for Disney is contained, should they not perform as hoped for at the box office.

And after the relatively lacklustre performance of Solo: A Star Wars story amid suggestions of Star Wars oversaturation, Lucasfilm - which makes the series - had already indicated that it was looking again at its original plan of releasing a Star Wars film every year.

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AvatarDisneyIndianaSam WorthingtonZoe Saldana