Disney and Lucasfilm are pumping the brakes on their plans for future Star Wars spin-offs on hold, according to a new report. Lucasfilm will instead be focusing on finishing the as-yet-untitled Episode IX and the planned trilogy that will come after that. The decision comes a month after Solo: A Star Wars Story debuted to mostly positive reviews but mediocre returns at the box office.
In an exclusive report, Collider revealed that Disney has halted production on all future films under the “A Star Wars Story,” banner. This includes a planned but unconfirmed Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone film and a Boba Fett spin-off that had tapped James Mangold (Logan) to direct. While the Fett film was in the earliest stages of development, the Kenobi film was farther along in development. According to previous reports, the film was set to begin production in early 2019. However, according to Collider’s exclusive, everyone working on the film has been removed from the project.
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2014, it unveiled ambitious plans for the iconic science-fiction franchise. Disney planned to continue the Skywalker saga in a brand-new trilogy of films, while also announcing their intentions to tell stories outside of the main episodes with stand-alone films. On the heels of the massive financial and critical success of The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, debuted in December 2016 and delivered similarly positive reviews and more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide.
Behind the scenes, the spin-offs seemed to struggle more in production than the main saga films. Rogue One famously sidelined director Gareth Edwards in favor of Tony Gilroy, who wrote and directed new scenes for the film’s third act. Solo: A Star Wars Story fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller just two weeks from the end of principal photography, halting production for several weeks before the studio brought in Academy Award-winner Ron Howard to complete production and re-shoot a sizable portion of the film. Before either of those, Disney had approached Josh Trank to develop a Boba Fett film, but later parted ways with the director over creative differences.
Tensions around the Star Wars franchise reached a boiling point in the last six months. Some fans began protesting the franchise after The Force Awakens, criticizing the film for its similarities to A New Hope and what they saw as the proliferation of “SJW” principles and liberal ideology. In December 2017, The Last Jedi divided the fan-base even further. Despite being a critical and financial success, many fans objected to the characterization of certain characters in the film like Luke Skywalker. Others continued to see the film as a continuation of Disney infusing a liberal political agenda. Whatever their reason, it spawned a sizable movement to boycott the next Star Wars film: Solo: A Star Wars Story, which debuted in May 2018.
Solo debuted to lukewarm but mostly positive reviews from the critics. The film is currently sitting at a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has a 62 from Metacritic. However, whether it was because of the boycott or simply an over-crowded month for films, the film failed to capture audience’s attentions — or, at least, their wallets. The movie opened to just $84 million in its first weekend, and has only grossed $341 million worldwide to date.