On June 15, 2022, Sword Art Online‘s Twitter page and official website released a new key visual for the upcoming 2nd Sword Art Online Progressive anime film titled Kuraki Yuyami no Scherzo (Scherzo of the Dark Dusk). The visual revealed that the Sword Art Online Progressive Scherzo of the Dark Dusk release date is on September 10, 2022.
After the premiere of Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night it was announced that a sequel film titled Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of a Dark Dusk was in production.
A Tokyo museum exhibit was also announced and you can read more about that here: The Art Of Sword Art Online museum exhibit in Tokyo celebrates SAO’s 10th Anniversary
Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night is a 2021 Japanese animated sci-fi, action, adventure film based on the Sword Art Online: Progressive light novels written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. For those already familiar with Aincrad’s storyline, the light novels are a retelling that expanded the story.
Ayako Kono (Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic, High School Fleet, The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky) directed the film produced by A-1 Pictures, Yuki Kajiura composed the music, Yasuyuki Kai worked as an action director, and Kento Toya (Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld, The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments) was in charge of character design.
The story begins when Kirito gets trapped inside of a Virtual MMORPG called Sword Art Online. The only way to escape is to “clear” the game by climbing all 100 floors that exist in the floating castle of Aincrad. The stakes are high since death in the game means death in reality. Kirito plays as a solo player in the beginning but eventually teams up with another skilled female gamer named Asuna. As the series progresses their friendship deepens into something more.
The first animated film in the Sword Art Online franchise was titled Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale and featured an original story by Kawahara set after the events of Sword Art Online II. On February 18, 2017, the film premiered in Japan and Southeast Asia and on March 9, 2017 the film was released in the United States.
Aria of a Starless Night is the second film in the SAO franchise and depicts the story of the first encounter between Kirito and Asuna, covers the events on Aincrad’s first floor, and focuses on Asuna’s initial struggle to cope with the reality of being trapped in a virtual reality world.
Aria of a Starless Night features an anime original character named Mito that was created for the film. Mito does not currently exist in the original Progressive light novel series. On March 27, 2021, a trailer and key visual featuring the new character Mito (played by Inori Minase) was released, along with the film’s release date for Fall 2021 in Japan. At the Aniplex online Fest 2021, a poster revealed that the film’s release date would be October 30, 2021.
SAO staff also announced a TV special that will run on July 1 at 24:00 (effectively July 2 at midnight) titled TV Anime Sword Art Online 10th Anniversary Countdown on Tokyo MX! The special will feature news about Scherzo of the Dark Dusk, the SAO 10th Anniversary Project and announce details about the SAO Selection rerun, which starts on July 9, 2022. On November 6, 2022 in Tokyo the franchise will host a 10th Anniversary event.