The next three Star Wars movies will be released within 18 months of one another.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is still on track for release on 18 December 2015. The first Star Wars live-action spin-off movie now has a title, Star Wars: Rogue One, and a release date of 16 December 2016. This will then be followed by Star Wars Episode VIII, which now has a release date of 26 May 2017, forty years and one day after the release of the original Star Wars movie back in 1977.
Rogue One will star Felicity Jones (Oscar-nominated for her role in The Theory of Everything) in a so-far unnamed role. It will be written by Chris Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy, Antz, The Golden Compass) and directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla). Rumours previously suggested this film may be set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and may involve a heist, leading to the discovery of the Death Star. However, the title of the film may also refer to the commander of Rogue Squadron, an elite formation of X-wing fighter pilots founded by Luke Skywalker but later taken over by Wedge Antilles.
Star Wars Episode VIII will follow on from the events of Episode VII but J.J. Abrams is not returning as director. Instead, Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick, The Brothers Bloom and several episodes of Breaking Bad) will direct and write.
Episode IX is tentatively pencilled in for 2019, with possibly two further stand-alone films to be released in 2018 and 2020. Whether the moving up of Episode VIII by six months will also bring forward the rest is unclear. What is clear is that if you're a Star Wars fan, things are going to get very interesting over the next few years.