Star Wars: Episode VIII's release date has been pushed from May to December 2017
Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd./Courtesy Everett Collection

Star Wars fans are going to have to wait six months longer than they expected before returning to a galaxy far, far away.

The release date for Episode VIII has been pushed from its original release date of May 26, 2017, and will now be hitting theaters on Dec. 15, 2017, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The news comes after reports that writer/director Rian Johnson is supposedly expanding the roles of the main characters from The Force Awakens following the film’s success.

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“I said before there were two [new] young female roles, now I actually heard that the rewrite will make these roles smaller,” says The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider on Meet the Movie Press video podcast.

“They want to get to know better the characters they already have. So the new rewrite is shrinking the new roles in order to spend more time with Rey, Poe and so on” he added.

The film will pick up from the events in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has now become the biggest movie in North America, with $861 million in grosses. As of last week, the global box office revenue was $1.012 billion, meaning that by now, it’s almost certainly surpassed Jurassic World’s $1.016 billion. This puts The Force Awakens in fourth place for all time global sales, behind Furious 7, Titanic, and Avatar, according to Forbes.

Rogue One, the first film in the stand-alone Star Wars Anthology series, will be the next release from the Star Wars universe. Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Forest Whitaker are set to star in the spin-off, which will hit theaters December 16, 2016.