Solo’s Box Office Failure Changed Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Plans In 4 Ways

More than four years after Solo: A Star Wars Story, the impact of the movie's box office results is still being felt in the franchise. When Disney bought Lucasfilm, one of the first announced Star Wars projects besides Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a Han Solo spinoff movie that would show the origins of the character before the events of A New Hope. Lucasfilm also quickly started working on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and it seemed at the time that this particular format of spinoffs for old and new characters would become the norm for the franchise.

The massive success of The Force Awakens, which currently ranks at four in the list of highest-grossing movies of all time, proved that Disney's plan to restart the Star Wars franchise with sequels and spinoffs had worked. The also strong Rogue One box office, which crossed the billion-dollar mark, made it seem like similar spinoffs set close to the events of the original trilogy, by far the less divisive Star Wars films, were going to be guaranteed success. As such, Solo kept the "A Star Wars Story" tagline, but the film would soon prove to be a lot trickier than Rogue One.


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Unlike Rogue One, whose main characters (like Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor) were created for the movie, Solo would tackle one of the most iconic Star Wars names, Han Solo. Not only that, but unlike Obi-Wan Kenobi or even Darth Vader, Han Solo had previously been played by one actor only, Harrison Ford, to the point it was difficult to even picture another person in the role. Still, Lucasfilm believed that Han Solo's popularity could lead to a successful movie, and up-and-coming directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were chosen to helm the production. However, only three months after filming started, Phill Lord and Chris Miller were fired from Solo and replaced by Ron Howard, leading to long and expensive reshoots. In the end, Solo grossed $393 million at the box office, one of the worst results ever for a Star Wars movie, causing Lucasfilm to rethink its Star Wars spinoffs plans.

The Boba Fett Movie Was Cancelled (And Became The Mandalorian)

Book of boba fett ruined Mandalorian season 3 best story

While Josh Trank's Boba Fett movie cancelation had nothing to do with Solo: A Star Wars Story's failure, as it happened before the Ron Howard film was even released, a second Boba Fett movie project was rumored to be in the works with James Mangold as the director. Mangold, however, later denied that we were ever attached to a Boba Fett movie. After the departure of Josh Trank, Lucasfilm had the opportunity to pursue other directors, but a Boba Fett movie ended never being made. Instead, after Solo put the Star Wars spinoff film plan in check, a lot of the ideas involving a Boba Fett movie were reused in what would become The Mandalorian. Obviously, the Disney+ launch also had a lot to do with Lucasfilm developing a high-budget Star Wars live-action series, especially because the streaming format allowed more risks to be taken. The journey of a wandering bounty hunter seen in The Mandalorian could have easily worked for Boba Fett, and after appearing in The Mandalorian season 2, Boba Fett got his own Disney+ show.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi Movie Became A TV Show

why obi-wan didn't kill darth vader in kenobi episode 6

Before Obi-Wan Kenobi was a Disney+ TV show, the project was supposed to be a trilogy of films about the Jedi master. That was revealed by writer Stuart Beattie, who worked on the script for the movie and is credited with the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Beattie also confirmed a theory that many had: the Obi-Wan Kenobi movie was reworked into a TV show after Solo's box office failure. Similar to what happened with the planned Boba Fett film, the success of The Mandalorian on Disney+ proved that live-action Star Wars shows could suit an Obi-Wan spinoff better, and thus the long-awaited Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen's returns as Star Wars' Obi-Wan and Darth Vader came to be in the form of a limited series.

The "A Star Wars Story" Tagline Was Ditched

Rogue One A Star Wars Story logo

One relatively small consequence of Solo's failure was the fact that Lucasfilm never used "A Star Wars Story" again. When Rogue One and Solo started to be developed, it made sense to have Star Wars in the title somehow, and while "A Star Wars Story" was not too inspired, it did the trick. However, the tagline was never used again, not even in the Disney+ TV shows. Instead, the focus of the marketing has been on the power of the characters' names alone, as seen with The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka.

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Star Wars Ruled Out Recasting Iconic Characters

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill as Han Luke and Leia in Star Wars and Solo

Not considering recasting iconic Star Wars characters like Luke and Leia is perhaps the most controversial course correction Lucasfilm made because of Solo. Not only does it diminishes Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover's performances as Han and Lando, but it also fails to consider the many reasons that may have caused Solo to fail. The change of director, the reshoots, and the released date less than six months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi and close to Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 all played against Solo, much more than having a different actor playing Han. Still, besides the 10-year-old versions of Luke and Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars has decided to use VFX techniques to bring legacy characters back, as seen with Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian season 2 and in The Book of Boba Fett. While the CGI route can make for an almost perfect reconstruction of what Luke looked like in Return of the Jedi, for example, it lacks the nuances and the reactions that only an actor could bring. Luke's voice in The Book of Boba Fett was also met with criticism, as the AI modulation did not feel as natural as what a real actor could achieve.

It makes sense for a studio to rethink its plans for a franchise following a box office. That said, the course correction made by Lucasfilm after Solo: A Star Wars Story may have been exaggerated. It would be interesting to see if the character movie spinoffs, the lack of the "A Star Wars Story" tagline, and the no recast decision would remain - or if those decisions will naturally be reconsidered with time.