It's Star Wars season, and hype is at an all-time high after the release of The Last Jedi. While a vocal minority of fandom has responded negatively, the movie is enjoying great critical reviews, audiences love it, and it's bringing in a most impressive box office haul. In all the attention given to The Last Jedi during the lead up to its release, though, the fact that we're only 5 months away from the next Star Wars movie has been totally overshadowed, and we still haven't seen a Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer , or any other marketing for that matter.
As the second Star Wars spin-off movie, Solo hasn't seen much official attention from Lucasfilm, with most of the movie's news being generated by what appears to be a problematic (at least initially) production. After working on the movie for a number of months, the original director duo of Phil Lord & Chris Miller were unceremoniously fired and quickly replaced by Ron Howard.
Rumors suggest Lord & Miller were frequently late to set, didn't stick closely enough to Lawrence Kasdan's script, and injected far more comedy than Lucasfilm wanted into the story. While Lucasfilm attempted to reconcile with the duo, it got to the point where cooperation didn't seem to be an option and any additional involvement would make Lord & Miller eligible for Directors Guild guaranteed post-production creative rights.
Ron Howard initially claimed that much of the footage was "very usable," but as reshoots progressed, it became more and more clear that a majority of the movie was being remade, with the rumored total percentage coming out around 80% - matching Screen Rant's earlier calculations.
Given the extreme nature of the reshoots, which always raised the hackles of fans, especially in the wake of Justice League, the fact that we have yet to see a Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer could definitely be a source of worry for anyone already upset about this movie, and while the behind the scenes situation is definitely alarming, the lack of marketing shouldn't inherently be taken as a cause for concern.
First, even if the production of Solo had gone smoothly, it's unlikely that any sort of marketing push for the movie would start until after The Last Jedi had been in theaters for a few weeks. While no two Star Wars movie have been released in such close proximity before, this is consistent with the marketing so far, as Rogue One marketing didn't start until well after The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi marketing didn't start until well after the release of Rogue One.
Second, Star Wars marketing is fairly ubiquitous. A franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have multiple trailers running simultaneously, but with a much more packed release schedule, they can't afford not to, but their movies also see far less overlap outside of team-ups. In the case of the Solo, the marketing is going to include the Star Wars logo, music, The Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and etc. There's no reason to promote both at the same time when the majority of audiences are already buying into the elements presented for Solo through The Last Jedi's marketing.
However, despite all the brand synergy Solo: A Star Wars Story will benefit from, it does need to start marketing early 2018 as soon as The Last Jedi buzz begins to wane. Even if it's simply a shot of the main cast in costume in front of the Millennium Falcon, Solo needs to get its name on the board and start getting audiences hyped as the marketing push for other big summer 2018 movies, like Avengers: Infinity War (which only comes out a few weeks before Solo), begins to ramp up.
With The Last Jedi well on its way to exceeding $1 billion at the global box office, every new Star Wars movie will have hit (or well exceeded) that mark. While this can be expected of the main episodes, even Rogue One exceeded the billion dollar mark, and that was with a movie that didn't prominently feature any major characters. As Justice League proves, simply having well-known characters leading a movie doesn't guarantee box office results, but Lucasfilm's track record under Disney is hard to deny, so most judgment on the marketing decisions for Solo: A Star Wars Story should probably be held for after release.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019