December has quickly transformed into the most wonderful time of the year for Star Wars fans. The last two holiday seasons have seen the respective theatrical releases of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, both of which were very successful critically and commercially. This duo has exhibited immense prowess at the box office, with Rogue One recently passing Captain America: Civil War as the second highest-grossing film domestically in 2016. December has proven to be an extremely lucrative window for the franchise, where the competition is thin and a new Star Wars film essentially has the marketplace to itself. It’s for that reason this year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII was moved from May 2017 to December.
Before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, Star Wars was a summer series, and the Mouse House looked to be returning to that tradition with 2018’s young Han Solo anthology. Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s spinoff has been slated for a May 2018 release ever since it was announced, but after Rogue One exceeded expectations in the winter, some speculated whether or not Lucasfilm would move the project to December of that year in an effort to replicate that success. If a new rumor pans out, then that’s exactly what the studio has in mind.
Making Star Wars has learned that their “sources in the theater industry” have received information that states Han Solo will premiere on Thursday, December 13, 2018. This has not been confirmed officially by Disney or Lucasfilm, but it suggests that a change could be in order. Those who want to buy into this claim could look at the press releases announcing the castings of Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke, which say, “the untitled Han Solo movie is set for release in 2018” as opposed to the previously established May date. As mentioned above, Lucasfilm did something similar for Star Wars 8, so it wouldn’t be surprising if this happened again.
Pushing Han Solo back seven months would make sense for several reasons. For starters, it spaces out Lucasfilm’s tentpoles and allows the studio to stick to their strategy of handling one film at a time. They did not start marketing Rogue One until after The Force Awakens hit home media, and likewise will not start promotion for Episode VIII until the spring. Disney would also benefit from this decision, since there would be an extended buffer between Han Solo and Avengers: Infinity War. And getting out of the typically crowded summer season means the Star Wars franchise can have another extended run at the top of the box office charts, where there is little (or nothing) that can truly challenge it. Rogue One has set a precedent for the anthologies moving forward, and Lucasfilm will want Han Solo to post similar figures.
While there’s sound logic to a December date for Han Solo, Disney has not moved forward with that yet because James Cameron’s Avatar 2 has been penciled in for Christmas 2018. However, Sigourney Weaver recently stated that she’s unsure the sequel will be ready by then since they have yet to start principal photography. It’s possible that Disney has heard Avatar 2 is going to be delayed again, and they’re now in the process of altering their release slate, staking claim to a valuable weekend before another tentpole slides in. It will be interesting to keep tabs on this development and see if anything becomes of it. December is an undisputed goldmine for Lucasfilm, and if the opportunity is there, they’ll likely seize it and bring audiences more good tidings and great cheer from a galaxy far, far away.
Source: Making Star Wars