Disney has announced a major overhaul of its release calendar, adding a new “Star Wars” movie and a live-action “Moana” adaptation, and delaying the next three “Avatar” sequels by a year. The decision comes as some features halted production due to the Writers Guild of America’s strike as well as the need to focus on post-production and visual effects of its upcoming features.
The live-action “Moana” will be released on June 27, 2025 and will star Dwayne Johnson, who voiced Maui in the animated version. Johnson revealed the exciting news in a video filmed on the island of Oahu, where he explained the importance of his Samoan ancestry and how it influenced his portrayal of Maui. He also shared an interesting factoid about the creation of “Moana”: “Disney Animation found inspiration for Maui’s design from Johnson’s late grandfather, the legendary High Chief, and wrestler Peter Maivia.”
The live-action “Moana” will be directed by Thomas Kail, who also directed the stage and film versions of “Hamilton” and “In The Heights”. Kail is known for his innovative and dynamic musical numbers, which could bring a new dimension to the story of Moana, a young princess who sets off on a voyage to save her island.
The new “Star Wars” movie will debut on Dec. 18, 2026 and will be one of three untitled “Star Wars” films that Disney has planned for 2026 and 2027. Disney hasn’t revealed any details about the plots or casts of these films, but fans can expect them to explore new corners of the galaxy far, far away.
The next three “Avatar” sequels will be released in 2025, 2029 and 2031 respectively, with the final installment coming 22 years after the original blockbuster. The producer of “Avatar”, Jon Landau, wrote on Twitter: “Each ‘Avatar’ film is an exciting but epic undertaking that takes time to bring to the quality level we as filmmakers strive for and audiences have come to expect. The team is hard at work and can’t wait to bring audiences back to Pandora in December 2025.” The “Avatar” sequels will continue the story of Jake Sully and Neytiri as they explore different ecosystems across the vast world of Pandora.
Other changes include a massive Marvel reshuffling, with several movies being pushed back by a few months or even a year. Some of the most anticipated titles include “Deadpool 3”, “Captain America: Brave New World”, “Thunderbolts”, “Blade”, “Fantastic Four”, “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” and “Avengers: Secret Wars”. The production delays and the ongoing WGA strike are part of the reason behind the total overhaul of the release plan, according to Variety.
The delays are unwelcome news for theater chains desperate for more films from studios to draw movie-goers back to their screens, as reported by Time. However, Disney fans can still look forward to a plethora of exciting movies in the coming years, with something for everyone in their diverse slate. Whether it’s musicals, sci-fi, superheroes or animated classics, Disney has it all covered.
– Disney Dates New ‘Star Wars’ Movie, Shifts ‘Deadpool 3’ and Entire Marvel Slate, Delays ‘Avatar’ Sequels Through 2031, Variety, Jun 13, 2023
– Disney Delays ‘Avatar,’ ‘Stars Wars’ and Marvel Films in Major Readjustment, Time, Jun 13, 2023
– ‘Avatar 3’ pushed to 2024 and Disney sets two ‘Star Wars’ films for 2026, ABC News, Jun 13, 2023
– Disney delays a pantheon of Marvel, Star Wars, and Avatar movies, The Verge, Jun 13, 2023