This past May, we saw the release of the only Star Wars movie of 2018 (and most of 2019), Solo: A Star Wars Story. It was highly speculated that the release of this spin-off would lead to future character spin-offs. And then came the announcement of an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off that created mass excitement from the polarizing fanbase. Opening weekend for Solo came and went with theatres prepared for massive droves of people. The problem? Those massive droves weren’t all that massive after all.
Star Wars Story Spin-Offs Put on Indefinite Hiatus
With some bad publicity coming from the studio camp leading up to the release, and some lackluster trailer performances, fan excitement seemed to be at an all-time low since the reboot of the franchise. Following the release, LucasFilm has recently announced their decision to place the remaining Star Wars spin-off movies on hold. Reasons cited included audience reception and the poor box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s no secret that Solo showed up with a less than stellar performance.
The spin-off films were meant to dive further into the several characters fans have grown to love (or hate) in the Star Wars universe. Many arguments, debates, and just plain old fun conversations have been had over who would the next couple movies be about. Rogue One, then Solo, and recently, an electrifying announcement of an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie had fans chomping at the bit.
These announcements, however, did not come without their detractors. Fans and critics alike spawned the worry of over-saturation in the Star Wars universe with continued yearly releases. With the custom always having been a release every few years, a yearly release had many wondering whether the average movie-goer would grow sick of hearing the Star Wars name. If there is one thing LucasFilm has always done successfully, it’s the almost-perfect ability to turn the average movie fan into a Star Wars fan even if just for the night.
Solo: A Disappointing Story
Even with the concerns heading in, fans still had plenty of excitement for this year’s Star Wars feature. However, critically, it didn’t quite live up to its predecessors, and calling it a disappointment may just be too harsh. The best way to describe would be that it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either. Star Wars lovers have grown so accustomed to intense story lines, exciting and comical characters, and villains that make you want to jump through the screen to assist the rebellion.
Solo, on the other hand, never lived up to its namesake. Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo was better than expected. Although, that isn’t saying much after the rumors that were discussed during filming. He wasn’t anyone that will be loved for years to come. None of the other performances were spectacular except for the Lando performance by Donald Glover that blew everybody away. His was the one glowing performance.
The consensus of this film’s response was its overly-safe nature. It did nothing to set itself apart. The story took no risks, and outside of a strange plot twist in the final minutes, it was vanilla. The writers seemed to try a bit hard to appease the detractors of The Last Jedi by keeping this story too close with the original trilogy.
It’s not all that surprising to see this movie be less than successful. With the concern leading up to the release, and some of those worries standing true, we saw some less than rave reviews from critics and fans alike. This, paired with the fact that movie-goers had the option of going to see the Deadpool 2 film everybody seemed to love or going to see the “just OK” Star Wars movie they’ve heard is no different than the rest. It left much to be desired in the wallets of LucasFilm.
Star Wars Future in Doubt?
Having now come off a couple of extremely polarizing releases, LucasFilm has decided to pump the brakes a tad. Our next franchise release isn’t until December of 2019. With the spin-off series being put on hold, we don’t have a release date for anything beyond. The current trilogy will culminate with the release of the next film.
Rian Johnson will continue with the next trilogy. News revolving around a story, characters, or even a timeline has yet to be announced. The lack of concrete news beyond next year’s release has caused some doubt to stir among die-hard fans. The doubt stems from what those same fans have already seen twice before from the Star Wars franchise. Is Star Wars finally tired and done? Is there a future? This franchise is known for releasing a trilogy, and then disappearing into the Hollywood abyss and Reddit threads for a decade or longer. Will fans see a similar scenario play out following December of 2019?
Last Word on Star Wars Spin-Offs
Rian Johnson and LucasFilm created a massive box office success with The Last Jedi. There’s no reason for that success to not continue. This “Solo” mishap (pun intended) shouldn’t be large enough of a blow to truly stir the pot enough that the studio doubts future successes. It is likely just a realization of a shrinking universe and a change of strategy to combat that. The studio has always maintained the fact that the spin-off series was separate from the saga films, distinguished by the lack of an opening crawl and episodic number.
With Johnson and LucasFilm announcing a future together with the next trilogy, it doesn’t look like there is any doubt for the future. Technically speaking, could the studio choose to delay the next anthology trilogy much like the spin-off series? Yes, that is correct. And that could even be more likely if the closing edition of the current trilogy is less than successful. With the pedigree and ability that Rian Johnson has proven to possess, nobody has any worries coming from that camp. Fans should be able to rest easy knowing that while the spin-off series is in doubt, future installments of the anthology are going nowhere except to the big screens in theatres across the globe.
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