Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just released in theaters this weekend and is performing well, with an opening day of just over $71 million. This puts it on track to open north of $140 million, making it one of the biggest openings of all time. Disney is more than likely pleased with these numbers, and it should reinforce their commitment to more spinoffs in the ever-expanding universe of Star Wars.
Meanwhile on NBC, Saturday Night Live just aired its last episode of 2016 with host Casey Affleck (promoting the critically acclaimed Manchester by the Sea, which also opens this weekend) and musical guest Chance the Rapper. When SNL returns in 2017, however, it’ll be entering the world of Star Wars by bringing in a leading cast member from Rogue One to perform hosting duties.
Via TVLine, Saturday Night Live announced during Affleck’s Christmas-themed episode that Felicity Jones will take up hosting duties when the sketch comedy show returns in 2017. SNL will go on hiatus until after the holidays, and Jones will be the first host of the new year. Country musician Sturgill Simpson will join her as the musical guest.
Even though Jones’ hosting gig will come well after Rogue One‘s release, it’s still a logical decision for SNL. The Star Wars Story should continue to perform well over the coming weeks, and Jones hosting a popular comedy show in the midst of its box office run could drum up last minute interest for movie goers outside of the traditional target audience. Affleck hosting this weekend is more than likely designed to do the same for Manchester by the Sea as it competes for its share of audience attention.
Jones has proven a capable actress, earning an academy award for her role in The Theory of Everything, but sketch comedy is an entirely different animal and some dramatic actors don’t exactly transition well to live television. Either way, SNL has made a smart move by enlisting the lead actress in one of the biggest films of the year to host. Regardless of how Jones is received, it should succeed at the desired effect of drawing in viewers and hopefully showcasing the actress’s more comedic side.
Saturday Night Live returns January 14, 2017 with Felicity Jones as host on NBC.