Mark Hamill still believes Star Wars franchise fatigue is a possibility, especially after Solo: A Star Wars Story underperformed at the box office. When George Lucas was in charge of the famed space opera, there were six feature films released over the course of 28 years (1977 - 2005), with a 16-year gap between the end of the original trilogy and the start of the prequels. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012, they made plans to increase that output exponentially. Episode IX, which hits theaters this December, will be the fifth new Star Wars movie to premiere over a period of four years (2015 - 2019).
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Though Lucasfilm limited themselves to one film per year, there was still new Star Wars content coming out at a clip that fans were not accustomed to. Instead of three years between Skywalker saga episodes, there were only two, with spinoff movies released in the interim. Shortly before Solo arrived in theaters last summer, Hamill expressed concern that Lucasfilm was moving too fast, and it's a belief he still holds today.
"I'm not gonna tell them how to run their business. But is there a possibility of a Star Wars fatigue? Yeah, I think there is. I've experienced it to a certain degree but they never listened to my ideas anyway, so who needs 'em?"
Solo, which hit the scene five months after The Last Jedi, became the first Star Wars film to lose money at the box office. Due to incredibly extensive reshoots overseen by Ron Howard, the film's production budget skyrocketed to $250+ million (a figure more expensive than The Force Awakens). It only made $392.9 million globally, a far cry from its break even point. It is worth pointing out that a lackluster marketing campaign and poor release date were more to blame for Solo's failure than anything else, but franchise fatigue is something Lucasfilm should be mindful of as they iron out a slate for the future. They have separate film trilogies in the works, but Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted there'd be a "slowdown" once Episode IX has come and gone.
Speaking of Episode IX, odds are it won't be affected by any potential franchise fatigue. For starters, it'll be the first Star Wars movie in 19 months, an extended break that'll benefit the movie more than anything. It's also the conclusion to the Skywalker saga (not a random side story), making it the Star Wars equivalent of Avengers: Endgame in terms of magnitude and scope. Disney may have dropped the ball on Solo, but they will most certainly dedicate a significant amount of resources to Episode IX promotion, slowly building up anticipation over the course of several months. And if Star Wars takes some time off before Rian Johnson's and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' trilogies begin, Lucasfilm will keep excitement at a high level.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019