Solo: A Star Wars Story is a film that’s been put through the ringer over the past year; viewers may have a difficult time sifting through all of the reports and figuring out what’s accurate and what’s a misconception. Lucasfilm’s second Star Wars spinoff was officially announced back in July 2015, being led by LEGO Movie duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The pair stayed onboard all through the pre-production process (putting together an impressive ensemble) and began production in early 2017. As many know by now, they were ultimately fired in June 2017 due to creative differences with studio president Kathleen Kennedy and Solo writer Lawrence Kasdan. With three weeks of principal photography left, Oscar-winner Ron Howard came in to get the ship back on course.
Under Howard’s leadership, Solo finally got across the finish line, with production having wrapped and the director deep into post as he edits the picture. There’s been growing concern over the lack of promotional materials, with some suggesting this means the film is in trouble. However, Solo might be in better shape than some headlines lead you to believe. Here, we analyze all of the biggest topics regarding Solo and try to uncover the “truth.”
Marketing Delay & Release Date (This Page)
The Great Marketing ‘Delay’
The absence of the Solo trailer has gone on for so long, it’s been turned into a running joke by the Internet. Even though the film is scheduled for a May 2018 premiere, Lucasfilm hasn’t released so much as an official still image of the cast in-character. More red flags are raised every day that goes by without a preview, especially since two July tentpoles (Ant-Man and the Wasp and Mission: Impossible – Fallout) will have trailers before we get our first look at Solo. At times, it feels like Disney/Lucasfilm is intentionally hiding the movie from the general public, so what gives? Even if Solo was finished smoothly with Lord and Miller, marketing was always going to be a weird proposition. Lucasfilm never actively promotes two films at once, instead choosing to focus on the next one on the docket.
Related: When Will the Solo Trailer Drop?
Anything Solo related released during the build-up to The Last Jedi would have been overshadowed by Episode VIII hype, so Lucasfilm was smart to wait. Them holding Solo content back is a deliberate strategy so they can optimize the effect it has on people, giving the standalone the spotlight to itself with Last Jedi further in the rearview mirror. While many expected the trailer to debut at some point in January, that month was too close to Star Wars 8‘s premiere and didn’t have an obvious platform for a major launch. As atypical as this handling has been, February makes more sense from a logistics standpoint. The coming weeks see the 2018 Winter Olympics and Black Panther hit theaters, guaranteeing Lucasfilm a huge audience for their trailer. If there’s no Solo advertising by then, then it’ll be time to hit the panic button.
Also – times have changed. With social media, trailers and pictures circulate like wildfire, raising awareness to high levels. There’s no need for a glacially-paced, year-long marketing campaign (even though that’s what Star Wars fans are accustomed to).
The Release Date Won’t Change
Star Wars first made a name for itself in May, but as a Disney subsidiary, Lucasfilm has discovered a gold mine in December. The last three years saw the studio dominate the holiday moviegoing season with three straight $1 billion blockbusters, giving them an ironclad blueprint for success. Not only was the arrival of a new Star Wars movie enough to send viewers into a frenzy, Force Awakens, Rogue One, and Last Jedi all faced minimal competition for ticket sales (Jumanji notwithstanding) and soared to the top of the yearly domestic charts thanks to word-of-mouth and repeat business. But for Solo, the galaxy far, far away is returning to its traditional stomping grounds where the waters are a lot tougher. With all the problems, wouldn’t they push it back?
Though a case can be made Solo would have benefitted from a December bow, this would have been announced by now if it was going to happen. Additionally, December 2018 is now as crowded as any summer month with Bumblebee, Aquaman, and Disney’s own Mary Poppins Returns. Plus, concerns about Solo‘s competition may be overblown. Avengers: Infinity War will have already done a majority of its damage by the time Solo comes out, and Deadpool 2 recently shifted to one week before the spinoff (instead of after) – perhaps as a means of avoiding a possible leggy second weekend for Solo. Lucasfilm now has a couple weeks to themselves before Ocean’s Eight debuts, so they should be able to do strong business in May.
Page 2 of 3: The Script & Disney's Confidence
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