It’s not brain surgery, but it’s an elegant title. The second anthology film will be called Solo: A Star Wars Story. Director Ron Howard announced the title today as principal photography has wrapped. While I’m enormously excited and positive regarding The Last Jedi (which opens in only 59 days), I have a lot of trepidation regarding Solo. A lot of them stem from the weird firing of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (click here to read more on that). To some degree, I-like a lot of Star Wars fans-can’t imagine anyone but Harrison Ford as the smuggler, and I don’t have enough confidence in Alden Ehrenreich to overcome that prejudice. I DO think Donald Glover will destroy a young Lando Clarissian. What makes me most nervous about the film is how Disney has refused to budge on the May 23, 2018, release date. That’s not a lot of time to smooth out the wrinkles on a film with a troubled production history PLUS do all the massive amount of post-production work that is required in any Star Wars film. But say all that goes GREAT and the film is fantastic…..I still think Disney is setting it up to fail.
I wrote a long piece about Disney’s obsession with moving Star Wars from Christmas back to its historic FOX release date in May earlier this year. Episode IX has been delayed back to Christmas 2019, so of their first four films, this would be the only one to release in May. However, no one is thinking about this film. Everyone is thinking about The Last Jedi. Non-SW fans, have no clue another SW film is coming five months after TLJ. Assuming it’s as good as we hope it will be, the afterglow is going to last into February. I’m curious if the first teaser for the film will go with TLJ just to alert people, because by February, Disney will be into its own success problem. Black Panther comes out in February, which will get people hyped for May’s Avengers Infinity War: the beginning of the culmination of a 10-year storyline.
Disney plans to release Solo three weeks after Infinity War, which will stunt the box office for both films, but it’s also being thrown right before one of the most stacked June schedule’s in recent memory. The weeks following Solo see Deadpool 2, Ocean’s 8, Disney’s OWN The Incredibles 2, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I’d be concerned, if I were them alredy over The Incredibles 2, but to plop a Star Wars film in-between part one of the MCU climax and a Pixar sequel everyone has wanted since the minute the first Incredibles ended? That’s just stupid. I know Disney has Mary Poppins 2 in December 2018, but December 2018 is a lot more bendy than the slot they currently have Solo in-set up to be the first financial flop in Star Wars history. I want to love this film, and I want to be wrong, but if they keep it in May….I don’t see how it can succeed, and the anthology films aren’t so well-established yet that they can take a failure.
Solo: A Star Wars Story features Hail, Caesar‘s Alden Ehrenreich as Han, with Atlanta‘s Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and The Force Awakens‘ Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. Woody Harrelson is playing Han’s mentor, a man by the name of Beckett, while Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke, Westworld‘s Thandie Newton, and Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge are playing undisclosed roles.
In the wake of the departure of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm hired director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code) to take their place. It is unknown how credit will be divided for the finished film, as at least 3/4s of it was already shot when Howard took over.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is scheduled to be released on May 25, 2018.