You have heard it before and you will hear it again and maybe you will hear it from your own mouth:
“I will watch the new (BLANK) film when it is released on Netflix.”
In the streaming era, running a movie can feel like a hurdle, a burden, or just an impossibility for a specific schedule (parents of young children know what’s going on). So the question of when a movie will appear “on Netflix” is not inappropriate. In the case of The Rise of Skywalker, however, this is the wrong question. J.J. Abram’s Episode IX will be the first Star Wars film to debut exclusively on Disney Plus in 2020.
Why Rise of Skywalker doesn’t hit Netflix (but other Star Wars films live there)
With Lucasfilm, led by Walt Disney Corporation, this pipeline may seem obvious, but Disney has only recently been given the right to release its theatrical releases through the newly launched streaming service.
In 2012, shortly after George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, the mega-company made another milestone: the company’s tentpole films would be streamed on Netflix. The partnership started in 2016 when Marvel films and Disney animations came on the market. Until April 2017, however, Disney announced that the contract would not be renewed. Disney Plus was in the works, even if it wasn’t announced for months.
The agreement does not allow Disney to only reclaim every film in recent years. The Last Jedi actually stays on Netflix, though the rest of the Skywalker saga finds a streaming home on Disney Plus. Under the terms of the contract, all Disney films made between 2016 and 2018 are Netflix’s property of home videos. Mary Poppins Returns is the last of the licensed features. According to the Disney Plus memory page, the service will not regain the title until January 2021.
But there’s another twist: According to a Bloomberg report, all films in the Disney Netflix window will be back on Netflix in 2026. At some point we need a Sith Wayfinder to keep an eye on these things.
When can you expect Rise of Skywalker for Disney Plus? In January, Aladdin and the Lion King will premiere about six months after their theatrical releases. Use this logic to prepare for endless Episode IX new watches in June 2020.