Star Wars” fans who are excitedly waiting for the film’s next installment are in for a big disappointment – “Star Wars: Episode VIII” will not be released until Dec. 15, 2017.

The highly anticipated sequel is originally slated to hit the theaters on May 26, 2017, following the traditional summer release of earlier “Star Wars” films. In a statement, Walt Disney Studios hinted that the seven-month delay may be due to the company’s attempt to replicate the epic blockbuster success of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” smashed the box office since its release, generating US$1.8 billion (AU$2.61 billion) in global ticket sales and counting. In addition, the film’s success was reflected in the revenue of “Star Wars” merchandise. “Star Wars” toys racked up US$700 million (AU$1.01 billion) worth of sales in 2015, making it the number one property in the toy industry during the year, retail researcher NPD Group said.

Disney recognised this phenomenal feat in its statement, claiming that the Christmas release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” made it even more special. “Everyone wanted ‘Star Wars’ stuff for the holidays, Christmas trees were decked out with BB-8 ornaments, and going to the film with your family added an even more emotional element to a film that already carried so much sentimental weight," Disney said in its statement.

The film outfit is not leaving the May 26 slot empty, however. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will sail off earlier from its original schedule of July 7.

According to Disney, the fifth installment of the popular franchise will see the return of the characters Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Actor Javier Bardem will join the stellar cast as the villainous Captain Salazar, as well as Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario.

While Disney expressed its elation over the new schedule of “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” which will be written and directed by filmmaker Rian Johnson, fans are not exactly sharing the same sentiments. Moments after Disney posted its announcement, “Star Wars” fans took to Twitter to voice out their opinions. Some Twitter users even used memes and GIFs to punctuate their emotions.

However, other followers of the film franchise understand Disney’s decision and expressed their support.

In the end, “Star Wars” fans may have no choice but to get used with the new trend of releasing their favorite film during the holidays. “The Christmas release date added an extra bit of magic to a film that was already covered in it, and we can’t wait for that same heartwarming feeling to continue for the next few years,” Disney mused.