It may be a while before we see any more movies like SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY out of Lucasfilm. Sources with knowledge of the situation tell Collider that Lucasfilm has decided to put plans for more A STAR WARS STORY spinoff movies on hold, instead opting to focus their attention on STAR WARS EPISODE IX and what the next trilogy of STAR WARS films will be after that film. Sources say the previously rumored OBI-WAN movie was in active development, but those who were working on the film are no longer involved. It was recently reported that LOGAN filmmaker James Mangold was in early talks to write and direct the BOBA FETT film, but that was before SOLO’s release.
This news comes in the wake of the disappointing launch of SOLO, which was only Lucasfilm’s second A STAR WARS STORY spinoff, but which received mixed-positive reviews and fell short of box office expectations. The film scored $84.4 million on opening weekend and has grossed $192.8 million domestically (and $339.5 million worldwide) in four weeks, which is nothing to scoff at but is far, far lower than the performance of other STAR WARS movies at this benchmark. For comparison’s sake, ROGUE ONE opened to $155 million and had grossed $424 million domestic by Week 4. To put it simply, while SOLO did fine by blockbuster standards, it wasn’t the “event” that Lucasfilm expected out of a brand new STAR WARS movie.
Of course the May release date could have had something to do with SOLO’s disappointing performance. As opposed to ROGUE ONE or the episodic films by J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, SOLO went head-to-head with a slew of summer blockbusters in May, opening mere weeks after box office juggernauts AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and DEADPOOL 2. One wonders how the film would have fared had Lucasfilm pushed SOLO’s release to December instead.
Regardless, we’re hearing that plans to revisit this A STAR WARS STORY format have been put on hold for the moment. Initially announced as “anthology” movies, the spinoffs got off to a rocky start and haven’t exactly been smooth sailing. Josh Trank (CHRONICLE) was developing a BOBA FETT movie around the same time Gareth Edwards (GODZILLA) was prepping ROGUE ONE, but Trank was subsequently removed from the project and Lucasfilm lost a film off its planned slate. Then story issues led to extensive reshoots on ROGUE ONE that reworked the third act, with Tony Gilroy (THE BOURNE LEGACY) overseeing the new scenes. And then of course SOLO saw directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller fired during production, with Ron Howard coming in to replace them and reshoot a number of scenes.
In addition to EPISODE IX, Lucasfilm has officially announced development on a new STAR WARS trilogy focused on new characters from THE LAST JEDI writer/director Rian Johnson, as well as a new series of films written by ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. These projects continue to be in development and are not part of the paused spinoffs we’re hearing about. But Lucasfilm’s main focus at the moment is planning the next trilogy after the Abrams-directed EPISDOE IX, which is expected to conclude the story of Rey (Daisy Ridley) that began with THE FORCE AWAKENS.
As with everything in Hollywood, it’s always possible that some filmmaker could come in and pitch an idea for a STAR WARS STORY spinoff that makes Lucasfilm rethink its approach, or opt to greenlight that idea as a one-off, but as of right now we’re hearing the studio’s focus has moved away from these spinoffs for the time-being and is squarely intent on getting EPISODE IX to the finish line and figuring out what the next trilogy of films will be.