What's Going On with Star Wars?
Before I get started here, I want to say that I am not a huge fanatic of the Star Wars franchise. I like it a lot, it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but personally there are other franchises I like more (James Bond, Star Trek, MCU).
However, I still wanted to say something about Star Wars, ultimately, what is going on? Just in case you haven’t heard already, Disney has decided to scrap all future plans for making stand-alone Star Wars movies, based on the turnout for the new movie, Solo. Disney was in the works of getting separate Bobba Fett and Obi Wan Kanobi movies done, but that has all gone away now. So, is Solo to blame? Or is there something else going on here?
Personally, I saw Solo over Memorial Day weekend with LPJ, Chops, and their dad, Mr. Dale. All four of us enjoyed the movie; I individually found it a refreshingly neat telling of the origins of Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, while also getting to know more about the Star Wars timeline with the Galactic Empire, and even more of a history of Chewbecca and his wookie race. When seeing critic reviews of the movie, Solo did well (71% on Rotten Tomatoes), but not as high as some of the other recent Star Wars films.
Based on my sample size of people I personally know, I was one of very few people who actually saw it. In addition, some of those people that didn’t see it are way bigger Star Wars fans than I am. But, I don’t know anyone who saw the movie say they didn’t like it. Even with the heavily publicized reshoots that were done by Ron Howard that cost an additional $80 million dollars, the movie still made profit for Disney, costing a total of around $275 million and making worldwide at this current date $357 million.
While looking further down into the state of movies in 2018, I personally believe we have entered a state of affairs similar to what Jazze and Grimlock discussed on a more recent GameZilla Alpha episode - we are on overload of product available, especially “Disney overload”, and Solo was right in the middle of it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is dominant, and its biggest movie in its history (Infinity War, what the last ten years has been working towards) was released just a few weeks prior to Solo. Back in February, Black Panther became an unseen colossus for the MCU as well, and last week we had Ant Man and the Wasp. Also for Disney was Incredibles 2 that came out a few weeks ago, and all in all, Disney in 2018 has 58% of the market share for all movies in the United States (for reference, Fox is at 15%, Warner Bros at 14%, Universal at 9%) (Data collected from a Forbes article).
Finally, I also think the issue that people had with Solo is not based on that movie at all, but rather the Star Wars movie that was released before it, The Last Jedi. When it came out in December of 2017, people have been a 50/50 split on whether they enjoyed it or not. If even half of the 50% that didn’t like The Last Jedi then preceded to not see Solo, you can see why that movie wasn’t able to do so well. For me, the new trilogy has been a big disappointment. The opinion has already been beaten to the ground pretty well, but I agree The Force Awakens was a redo of A New Hope, and I fall in the 50% that did not care for The Last Jedi. I just feel like they are trying way too hard to make those movies, are trying to make everybody happy by incorporating the old actors with the new, but essentially they are just telling the same exact story. It was just released today too that Billy Dee Williams will be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian for episode IX. Good lord, will this ever end? No, because if someone dies Disney will just create a digital version of them (looking at you, Rogue One).
Actually I shouldn’t bash Rogue One. I might be in the minority on this, but I have actually liked the two stand-alone movies better then the first two in the new trilogy. Rogue One I thought was a fantastic movie, and as previously mentioned I liked Solo too. But maybe some of that is me and my expectations too - for the new trilogy I had certain expectations that haven’t been met, because I have high expectations for them. For the stand-alone movies I’ve come into them with low expectations, and therefore have been pleasantly happy with the results. Perhaps the issue is me. Perhaps not though.