“A Star Wars Story” Films Reportedly On Hold
by Erik Amaya
Expectations ride high in Hollywood. And it seems the less-than-projected performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story has imperiled the future of the Star Wars anthology format because it made less of a box office splash than its brethren in the Disney Star Wars film cycle.
According to Collider, the two A Star Wars Story spinoff films centering on bounty hunter Boba Fett and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi have been put on indefinite hold. As recently as last month, both projects were still in development with James Mangold beginning negotiations to write and direct the Fett film and Stephen Daldry said to be in talks to direct the Obi-Wan project. But Collider’s sources say all talks have ceased.
The reason for abandoning these projects centers on Solo‘s less-than-anticipated performance. While still making money for the company, the perception of its box office earnings — down nearly half the opening weekend of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but nearing a similar global cume after a month of release — has allegedly led Lucasfilm to reconsider the anthology format first announced in 2015.
At the time, the proposed films included Rogue One, a Boba Fett-centered project from disgraced Fantastic Four director Josh Trank, and a project which turned out to be Solo. Stories of Trank’s behavior on the set of Fantastic Four led to his dismissal while production issues on Rogue One led to a number of rewrites and reshoots supervised by Tony Gilroy instead of original director Gareth Edwards. Solo famously ran into production issues when directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were fired toward the end of principle photography and replaced by Ron Howard.
Collider notes the plan is to focus all of Lucasfilm’s energy on the ninth Star Wars saga film. Afterward, Rian Johnson’s film trilogy and the projects supervised by Game of Thrones executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will take precedence over resuming development of the Star Wars Story spinoffs.
Which, ultimately, may be a better choice. When originally announced as Star Wars Anthology, Lucasfilm presented the concept as a director’s showcase. The intention was to use the Star Wars universe in new ways and tell new stories free of the constraints of the Saga storyline. The results, ultimately, followed too closely the tone of the main films and, in some cases, the actual events. In losing confidence in the directors’ visions for the films, the company made both Star Wars Story projects less vital and less deserving of their release dates; even if both films ultimately have their charms.
Additionally, the plan to stagger Star Wars Story and Saga films so there would be a Star Wars release every year always had the potential to crowd the market and make Star Wars a little less special. That it happened after only two Star Wars Story projects suggests the idea was ill-conceived from the start.
Nonetheless, it seems there will still be Star Wars films on a fairly regular pattern for the foreseeable future. They just won’t be the Star Wars stories some expected.