Disney's New Release Schedule Has Me Thinking a Lot About Mortality

On Tuesday, Disney updated its list of scheduled movie releases, providing tantalizing new details for fans of Earth’s preeminent sequel-making omnicorp—and forcing me to think farther into the future than I ever have before.

I’m not joking. Three new Star Wars films are now scheduled for December of 2022, 2024, and 2026. That last one is seven years from now. If the 22nd Amendment remains on the books, an entirely different person will be president. Children in the fifth grade today will be preparing to graduate high school.

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And I’ll be old as shit.

The planned release dates for the (improbable number of) Avatar sequels have even graver implications. As of today, Disney says Avatar 5 is scheduled to come out December 17, 2027...2027! If I’m even still alive, I’ll be 40 years old.

I’ll be honest, events like the 2008 financial crisis have conditioned me not to plan too far ahead. At my most optimistic, I’ll entertain two- or three-year goals. But there’s something disturbingly concrete about a date like “December 17, 2027.” It’s a day that will certainly come to pass, whether we’re all here to see it or not.

What will life be like 2027? Will there still be bees? Coral reefs? Discrete meteorological seasons the average person would recognize as “summer” and “winter”? Hard to say, but Disney is pretty sure there will be five Avatar movies.

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And more importantly, what will my life be like in eight years? I could be living on another continent, or homeless, or running an animal sanctuary for rescue donkeys by then. Statistically, I’ll probably have at least one child. Will they expand my capacity for love beyond my imagination? Will they change my entire world? Will they bug me to buy IMAX tickets for Untitled Avatar Sequel Number 4?

And then there’s the darkest thought of all.

By the end of 2027, both my parents will be 76. If they’re still alive, there’s no guarantee they’ll be healthy. When 2028 arrives, I just hope I’ll be able to look into my mother’s eyes, tell her I love her, and let her know that James Cameron’s strange cat-people dream is finally complete.

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