Well, well. Copies of Solo haven't hit the stores yet, so I haven't seen the movie – but it's interesting that the media has described the film as a 'flop'. Google 'Solo flop' and you'll get everybody (and their dog's) take on the sales and the so-called reasons. Franchise fatigue is one – Solo came out just five months after The Last Jedi, but as the writer of this article from the Daily Express points out, Marvel has churned out a heap of Avengers movies in a short time, so that's not it. And the argument that people got their knickers in a knot over The Last Jedi to the extent they abandoned Star Wars isn't very convincing, either. The fellow at the Express reckons Solo wasn't marketed well, since Alden Ehrenreich had to fill Harrison Ford's larger than life shoes to play the role of Han Solo.
Whatever. All the messing about with the production didn't help. When Ron Howard was hired to replace the original directors, he re-shot 70% of the film so costs soared.
What constitutes a box office flop? This is Variety's take on the matter. "The numbers don’t lie. “Solo” earned a disappointing $103 million in North America over its opening weekend and stalled out with $68.2 million overseas. At this rate, it will fall short of the $1 billion mark that each Disney-released “Star Wars” adventure has managed to fly past. The latest instalment will struggle to make even half that amount globally. Analysts project “Solo” could end its run with approximately $400 million to $450 million in revenues, a dreadful result for a film that cost at least $250 million to produce and $150 million to promote." [Variety]
But that's in the past. Let's move on to the future. We've learned a few things about Star Wars 9.
The first is that it will be directed by J.J. Abrams. Since he directed The Force Awakens, that bodes ill for me. I thought SW7 was absolutely derivative, so much like A New Hope that I was almost dizzy from rolling my eyes. He also directed Star Trek: Into Darkness, which also had me rolling my eyes (although not quite as much). So I have a bad feeling about this.
Princess Leia was supposed to have been front and center of the last film in this trilogy, but she is no longer with us. I'm glad to say she won't be resurrected in CGI, but the writing elves at Disney will have to come up with something in this movie to bring the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. (Let's hope Rey kills off that exasperating jerk, Kylo Ren).
It seems Disney (or Abrams) can't help itself with the links to the past, though. Billy Dee Williams will be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian. As Han explains to Leia in Empire, 'He's a card player, a gambler, a scoundrel. You'd like him.'. Oh lordy I do so hope this isn't going to be another eye-rolling episode. Abrams keeps pulling characters out of the past. He reprised a young Khan in ST:Into Darkness. I still can't believe the best he could come up with in TFA was an orphan with strange powers who was abandoned on a desert planet, is caught up in a quest to destroy a super weapon.
Oh, I'll be watching SW9, of course. But I'll have a certain level of trepidation. There's plenty of time for Disney and Abrams to convince me, though. It's due for release in December, 2019.
Fingers firmly crossed.