The seven-month gap between theatrical release and Netflix debut seems to be standard. Rogue One was released digitally in late March, and arrived on DVD and Blu-ray in early April. The film’s arrival on Netflix will mark the first time anyone can watch it without paying for it à la carte, either for a rental or purchase.
Rogue One will be the first live-action Star Wars film to hit Netflix in the U.S. under the company’s exclusive deal with Disney. Netflix and Disney, Lucasfilm’s parent company, signed an agreement in 2012 that gave Netflix the exclusive U.S. pay-TV rights to stream Disney movies. That locked out traditional premium cable channels like HBO, Starz and Epix, networks that all covet the rights to broadcast major films.
The Disney-Netflix deal did not take effect until September 2016. Because it only covers films that hit theaters starting Jan. 1, 2016, it does not include Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (However, The Force Awakens is available on Netflix in Canada because the international rights are separate from the U.S. rights.)
Technically, Rogue One is not the first Star Wars film to be released on Netflix. Subscribers can stream the 2008 CG-animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as the television series of the same name, for which the movie served as a lead-in.
Rogue One, the first Star Wars spinoff film, premiered last December. With domestic box office receipts topping $532 million, it was the highest-grossing movie of 2016; it pulled in more than $1.05 billion worldwide. The next entry in the franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is set to debut Dec. 15 — so it will presumably hit Netflix in July 2018.