Disney and Lucasfilm are moving away from the Star Wars Story spinoff movies, but are they learning the wrong lesson? The Anthologies idea has been around almost as long as the sequel trilogy, with standalone Star Wars movies for Han Solo, Boba Fett and more first reported in early 2013. Two films deep, however, it looks like that plan is being - at the very least - encased in carbonite; the planned Star Wars Stories are being put on hold, with the studio now focusing on Star Wars 9 and the next trilogy (presumably Rian Johnson's).
Much of the blame for the shift away from Star Wars Stories is being placed on Solo: A Star Wars Story. The franchise's first box office failure, its production was mired by conflicting opinions on what it should be to the point that directors were changed and a high percentage of the movie was reshot. However, while the resulting budget increase - Solo cost around more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens - that can't take away from the box office being so low. Its opening was below Justice League's, and the drop off even more severe. It seems that the interest in exploring the original trilogy's past is not there.
However, this may not be the right lesson for Disney to learn. The production issues on both movies (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had a less public director imbalance) and Solo's financial struggles are certainly concerns and indicate some producing changes are needed, but the current failure of the enterprise may be that they simply picked the wrong stories to tell.
- This Page: Why Rogue One Succeeded But Solo Didn't
- Page 2: Lucasfilm Had The Wrong Star Wars Story Plan
Rogue One Had A Story, Solo Didn't
Rogue One unequivocally worked. Despite no recognizable characters beyond a barely-in-it Darth Vader, it grossed over $1 billion worldwide and reviews were positive on a par to the main episodes. Even with oft-discussed reshoots that changed much of the third act and cut most of the prime trailer footage, the film has received mostly good press since release. The fact it was buoyed by the positivity coming off The Force Awakens is certainly a factor, sure, Rogue One is still, by nearly all metrics, a good film.
Crucially, though, it's also a story immediately worth telling. The Rebels' first victory against the Empire, the band who stole the Death Star plans, and how Princess Leia escaped with them has been on Star Wars fans' minds since the first movie's opening crawl, and indeed was retold many times in the pre-Disney Legends. Rogue One was a key piece of Star Wars history that connected directly to the main episodes yet had characters and themes that existed in isolation from them.
Contrast to Solo, which told us that the word "solo" means "solo". The film's goal is abstract and self-explanatory - how did Han become who he is - and so lacks the same information hook. There's plenty of things that must have happened in his past, yet do any of them warrant genuine curiosity? That question has double the weight given how Disney were never quite sure where to go with it; the biggest "reveal" that got the project green-lit was how where the Solo name came from, and behind-the-scenes concept art reveal an ever-changing story. That the Kasdans and Ron Howard delivered a worthy story in the end - Alden Ehrenreich's battle with idealism is a worthy precursor to Harrison Ford's stoic entrance in the original trilogy - is certainly impressive, but did little to redeem the pitch to many audiences.
We have two idealistically opposed films here, and only one appeared to be the future.
Page 2 of 2: Lucasfilm Had The Wrong Star Wars Story Plan
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019