Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be available on Disney+ two months earlier than expected. When the coronavirus pandemic took a turn for the worst in mid-March, several schools and businesses shut down indefinitely to help slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, people are spending more time at home, looking for things to do to stay occupied. Unsurprisingly, viewers are turning to streaming and on-demand services for entertainment, and studios are doing all they can to provide as much content as possible. A number of movies that were in theaters right before the outbreak are now on Digital.
Among the first moves Disney made in wake of the pandemic was to stock up Disney+ with recent releases, putting Frozen 2 and Onward on the streaming service well before anyone anticipated. The Mouse House also bumped up The Rise of Skywalker’s digital release date, putting it on platforms like iTunes a couple of days early. Now, after the movie’s been out on home media for about a month, The Rise of Skywalker is joining the Disney+ lineup.
Today, Disney officially announced The Rise of Skywalker hits Disney+ on May 4, the same day the streaming service will debut a Mandalorian making-of documentary series and the Clone Wars series finale. To commemorate the news, Disney released a Skywalker saga trailer, featuring highlights from all nine movies:
The timing of this makes sense. Disney’s had over a month to make money from Rise of Skywalker Digital and Blu-ray sales, so they shouldn’t be costing themselves too much by making it available for “free” now. Additionally, this is another way for the studio to celebrate the May the 4th holiday, and it gives Disney+ subscribers another major title to watch during quarantine. With Frozen 2 and Onward, Disney+ was already ahead in the coronavirus streaming wars, and now they have the latest Star Wars movie. While The Rise of Skywalker proved to be divisive among viewers, it does have its fair share of fans, and it’ll likely be a draw on Disney+ – particularly now that people can binge the full saga in one place.
It’ll be interesting to see if those inevitable Skywalker saga binges do anything to improve The Rise of Skywalker’s critical standing. Though the film boasts the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score for a live-action Star Wars movie, some are convinced fans will forgive The Rise of Skywalker quicker than the prequels (which have been reevaluated in a more favorable light in the years since their initial release). Perhaps being able to watch all nine installments in quick succession will allow viewers to appreciate how The Rise of Skywalker fits into the overall story. Nobody’s saying the Disney+ release is going to change all opinions on the movie, but some might find more to enjoy in it watching it from home, months separated from the hype and anticipation.