The latest rumors about Solo: A Star Wars Story suggest Disney is expecting the spinoff to bomb when it opens in theaters. Though Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi has only just begun its commercial run, fans are preparing for another return journey to the galaxy far, far away in five month’s time. Solo is scheduled to premiere in May 2018 after enduring one of the most bizarre productions in recent memory. As many know by now, original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired back in June due to creative differences with three weeks left in principal photography. In came Ron Howard to see the project across the finish line, reshooting roughly 80 percent of the film once Lucasfilm was impressed with his approach.
All the behind-the-scenes drama, coupled with a general lack of enthusiasm for Solo, has painted a cloud of uncertainty over Lucasfilm’s second Star Wars anthology. The world is still waiting to get their first look at what Howard has in store (Lucasfilm was likely holding off promotion until Last Jedi came out), and this latest report won’t do it any favors in terms of generating goodwill.
According to Screen Geek, an anonymous source “close to the film’s production” told the outlet the following, detailing numerous concerns studio executives have about the standalone’s prospects:
Disney is bracing themselves for the Han Solo movie to bomb. They were worried about it before all The Last Jedi controversy, but now they’re essentially writing Solo off. The lead actor, Alden Ehrenreich, can’t act, and they had a dialogue coach on hand for all of his scenes. On top of that, the script is unworkable. It’s going to be a car crash.
Admittedly, there could be some truth to this. Over the summer, it was reported Lucasfilm brought in an acting coach to help improve Ehrenreich’s performance, indicating there was some uneasiness about his interpretation. However, viewers should definitely keep those grains of salt handy when unpacking this one. If the script was as “unworkable” as the source says, there undoubtedly would have been word of rewrites at some point in the past few months. The Solo screenplay was co-written by Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon, and has been the subject of heavy praise from many members of the Lucasfilm family. In fact, one of the main reasons Lord and Miller were fired is because their trademark improvisational style went off-script too often for the studio’s taste. Kathleen Kennedy is obviously very confident in what the Kasdans delivered, going so far as to intentionally double Solo‘s budget to make sure the film was completed “right.”
Frankly, this rumor sounds a bit hyperbolic, as Ehrenreich has demonstrated he has talent in works like Hail, Caesar! and the only Last Jedi “controversy” is in regards to its divisive Rotten Tomatoes score. Episode VIII earned raves from critics and is a box office hit (though not as big as Force Awakens, as expected), making Lucasfilm 3/3 in terms of delivering well-received blockbusters in their Disney era. When one steps back and fully analyzes the situation, it’s difficult to take these latest comments at face value, but questions about Solo will remain until when the first trailer debuts (at least). Hopefully, promotion for the spinoff starts soon, and the conversation surrounding the movie can change for the better.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi release date: Dec 15, 2017
Solo: A Star Wars Story release date: May 25, 2018
Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX release date: Dec 20, 2019