In a surprise to absolutely no one, Lucasfilm has decided to put the A Star Wars Story anthology series on hold (as first reported by Collider.com). It was inevitable in the wake of the disastrous showing of Solo, which was a box office bomb by all Star Wars standards, even the maligned prequels.
There are some key reasons as to why that was (you can read my analysis of Solo box office here), ones that have little to do with if people actually liked the movie or not (and with an A- Cinemascore, they apparently did).
What that means is we won’t be getting the Obi-Wan and Boba Fett stand-alones that had been in development, no Solo sequel, and no Lando spinoff. The proposed new trilogies, however – one by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, the other by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – are still a go.
Lucasfilm is playing the safe bet here. The calculation is clear: they believe they need to clear the decks and get things right again with Episode IX. Once they do that, then they can start thinking again about what’s best for the movie brand moving forward.
But by doing that, they’re missing out on two absolute no-brainers: a teen Leia movie starring Stranger Things breakout Millie Bobby Brown, and Obi-Wan in Tatooine exile starring Ewan McGregor.
Teen Leia would absolutely rake in the box office receipts, and the Obi-Wan story has already been in development with Oscar-nominated director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) so it’s on a definitive track. McGregor remains a fan favorite, too, with many die-hards wanting him to get a great Star Wars movie for once.
Furthermore, if Lucasfilm kept the budgets on these at $100 million or less, they’d actually be safe bets and easily profitable, even if they only performed at Solo levels.
Lucasfilm is leaving easy money on the table and, more importantly, keeping the broader canon from having potentially great and beloved additions to the ongoing saga long-term.
But I get it, particularly when you consider that one of the reasons I believe Solo was a dud (again, read my analysis here) is because of the #BoycottStarWars fans who hated Rian Johnson’s mythology revisionism in The Last Jedi and wanted to send Lucasfilm a message, even if Solo was exactly the kind of movie they’d want to see more of.
Well, message received, namely that trust has been broken between a sizable contingent of Star Wars diehards and Lucasfilm. This galvanized union, now feeling empowered, will keep boycotting until trust is restored. Lucasfilm has determined the next best test for that is Episode IX, and not an anthology movie.
That makes sense, but it’s also way too safe.
Responsibly budgeted films like Teen Leia and Exile Obi-Wan, released in windows that are not immediately after two big Marvel movies (Solo drowned in the wake of Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2), would be the better course.
And with the current ages of Millie Bobby Brown and Ewan McGregor, now is the time.