The Silver Lining to Star Wars: Episode IX’s Possible Late Release in the Philippines

Star Wars: Episode IX was initially slated to be released in May of this year. But that bit of news was released a long time ago in 2017. A lot has changed with Disney and their handling of the Star Wars franchise since then. We first had the very divisive Episode VIII: The Last Jedi as well as the very disappointing Solo: A Star Wars Story. With two strikes against them, Disney had to make some immediate drastic changes. Disney announced they were scaling back production of their movies set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The proposed new trilogy that Rian Johnson is now in danger as well. It looked bleak for Star Wars fans and for their franchise.

But like the twin suns of Tatooine, a shining beacon of hope gleamed from out the horizons for Star Wars fans across the world. The new trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX was released. The trailer was a big hit for Star Wars geeks all over the world, including the fanbase here in the Philippines. Will The Rise of Skywalker redeem the new trilogy?

Unfortunately, there is a chance that fans in the Philippines may not find out in December of this year. Right now, there are a few rumors on social media flying around that The Rise of Skywalker may be released on January of 2020!

Now, I don’t give credence to these bits of gossip in the least. I totally predict that Episode IX will be released on December 18 of this year as this would be in line with the release dates of the previous films in the current trilogy. The Force Awakens was released in the Philippines on December 17 of 2015 and The Last Jedi was in theaters on December 15 of 2017. The mainline Star Wars movies have always been released a week before Christmastime. So, what’s with the rumored delay for The Rise of Skywalker?

Insert “Noooooo…” wail by Darth Vader at the end of Revenge of the Sith

There is some credence to the rumor, by the way. I guess a little background on the December showing schedule in the Philippines is in order. Over here, we have something called the Metro Manila Film Fest, a two week period where “the best of the local movie studios produce quality films that showcase world-class locally produced films.”

I put those quotation marks there intentionally because, while that’s supposed to be what the Metro Manila Film Fest is supposed to do, it doesn’t. For the longest time, the it’s become an excuse to not release any foreign films during the two-week period the Metro Manila Film Fest is held. This is right smack in the the middle of the Holiday season, which is December 25 and runs up to January 7 of the next year. I’m not trying to bash the people that do enjoy the films that are released during this time… but I really question if movies like Fantastica is supposed to be “world class” and something we can be proud of.

Anyway, the Metro Manila Film Fest eliminates all foreign films from all local cinemas in the Philippines; no ifs and no buts. Not even the almighty Disney has the power to make an exception for The Rise of Skywalker during the Metro Manila Film Festival period. In fact, when The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi was shown here, they were only shown for a week because of the Metro Manila Film Festival booted them out of the cinemas!

As of this writing, there is no official release date for Episode IX on IMDB, at least in the Philippines. There are already other countries listed on it and they do fall in line with the showing dates of the previous films in the current trilogy. It is still a bit strange that the Philippines isn’t showing a release date as of yet, especially for a big movie like The Rise of Skywalker. This detail does make my stance that Episode IX will be released a week before the Metro Manila Film Festival rather shaky.

So, if it does come to pass that the rumor is true and Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t rise in December thanks to the Metro Manila Film Festival, should all Star Wars fans bemoan their fate of having to watch the latest entry much later than the entire world? Well, not necessarily…

If I’ve learned anything from The Last Jedi, it’s that high expectations can lead to massive disappointment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like The Last Jedi. I’m in line with most critics to say that they thought Episode VIII was a refreshing take on Star Wars because it took risks with the plot and the characters. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of the target audience, you know, Star Wars fans, took a shining to The Last Jedi. While I may not agree with some of their points, I do respect their opinion as to why they didn’t like The Last Jedi.

Now, let’s travel back in time when The Last Jedi was released. Critics loved it. General audiences hated it with a passion. What’s worse, the general audiences felt like the critics lied to them when they said it was a good movie! They got to see it first thanks to advanced screening and all the positive buzz it got from those showings made general audiences want to see it more!

So, when they did see it and they didn’t like what they saw, a lot of fans started making accusations that the critics were bought off or something along those lines! This was when “normal” people started giving their reviews on The Last Jedi and what they thought of it. This led to a huge disparity between the critics scores and the audience scores of Episode VIII. Right now, according to Rotten Tomatoes, The Last Jedi is the worst of the mainline Star Wars movies with an audience score of 44%.

It’s even worse than Solo or any of the Prequels, if you can believe that!

So, where’s the upside of the possibility that The Rise of Skywalker will be shown late in the Philippines? Easy: we’ll know early on if Episode IX is something we should look forward to or something to avoid.

When The Last Jedi was released, there were so many posts on social media saying they should stay away from it and how the movie “destroyed” the franchise. Well, if we’re going to get the movie late, that means we’ll know what the general consensus is before we even see it! I know a lot of Star Wars fans are looking forward to The Rise of Skywalker. But what if it’s going to be like The Last Jedi? What if it’s a bad movie or an abomination to the franchise? Since the Philippines usually get movies a few days earlier before the Western markets, we’re actually the first ones to find out! But if we get the movie much later, a whole two weeks after the entire world’s seen it, we’ll know if it’s going to be something we actually need to watch. That’s because everyone else will have given their opinion on The Rise of Skywalker!

Like I said, I don’t give that much credence to the rumor that Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, will be shown in the Philippines a whole two weeks after the world’s seen in. And, even if the rumor was true, I wouldn’t really care if it’s a good movie or bad. As a Star Wars fan, I will see it for myself and judge it based on my tastes and beliefs. But for the rest of the fanbase in the Philippines, you might want to thank your lucky stars if it’s released later and most people think it’s awful. At least you can avoid it.

Do you think the Philippines will not get The Rise of Skywalker early? Let me know in the comments section below!

One thought on “The Silver Lining to Star Wars: Episode IX’s Possible Late Release in the Philippines

  1. I would not be surprised to see The Rise of Skywalker later confirmed for a December 2019 release. The Walt Disney company knows how popular Star Wars is in the Philippines and they also know that many Filipinos are willing to spend extra on IMAX to enjoy their movies. Also even during the time of the MMFF, selected foreign movies still get played on the premium formats like IMAX and 4D. Last December, Aquaman played well in the IMAX cinemas during the MMFF.

    I only wish that Disney would consider opening The Rise of Skywalker like one or two days ahead of the world though.

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