If every modern-day studio is chasing its own Marvel-style universe, it seemed only logical that the also-Disney-owned Star Wars franchise would go in the same direction. After all, there are virtually endless stories to tell throughout the galaxy, from those familiar to casual fans to those that only a devotee of the now-eradicated Extended Universe could possibly know about. Or so it seemed.
And then, the trouble began. Rogue One was a hit, but only after extensive reshoots and rumors of substantial turmoil behind the scenes. This year’s Solo was similarly plagued by rumors of major production issues, rumors confirmed when original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were replaced by Ron Howard well into the film’s production. The future of the franchise was further beset by questions of audience burnout when Solo made an underwhelming $103 million debut on a major American holiday weekend, Presently, near the end of its theatrical run, Solo is the lowest-grossing live-action theatrical Star Wars release by a margin of more than $100 million.
Now, rumors suggest that any future Star Wars standalones may be in major question. Collider reports that “Sources with knowledge of the situation tell Collider that Lucasfilm has decided to put plans for more A Star Wars Story spinoff movies on hold, instead opting to focus their attention on Star Wars: Episode IX and what the next trilogy of Star Wars films will be after that film. Sources tell us that the previously rumored Obi-Wan movie was in active development, but those who were working on the film are no longer involved.”
This remains speculative for the time being, but if confirmed true, it would be a major departure from Disney and Lucasfilm’s previous strategy of one Star Wars installment for every calendar year. Among others, it would spell doom for James Mangold’s planned standalone Boba Fett movie, or at least production turnaround, which in Hollywood parlance is often doom in its own way. We’ll be following this story as it further develops.
Update (June 22nd, 3:30 PM): A new story from The Hollywood Reporter says that while Lucasfilm is indeed “licking their wounds” after Solo’s underperformance, the Disney-owned studio hasn’t “slowed down development” on more potential Star Wars stories.
“It doesn’t mean those spinoffs don’t happen,” an insider said. “It just means they’re trying to figure out how to make, and market, them differently.”
To that end, it appears Mangold and Simon Kinberg are still writing the script for a Boba Fett film, with the plan still being for Mangold to helm it. The Obi-Wan Kenobi feature, however, may be largely stalled. Ewan McGregor was rumored to be ready to reprise his role as the title character, but he’s currently locked up in the Stephen King adaptation Doctor Sleep. Stephen Daldry was in negotiations to direct the Kenobi spinoff, but neither the studio nor his agency, CAA, had any comment on the progress of any talks.
“They were developing anything and everything,” an exec told THR. “It was a case of them stuffing so much sausage and not try to break the casing.”
Two new trilogies, one spearheaded by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and another from The Last Jedi director/co-writer Rian Johnson, are still in the works. Jonn Favreau is also executive producing a live-action TV series that will be part of Disney’s new streaming service, set to launch in 2019.