When director Ron Howard boarded the troubled production of Solo: A Star Wars Story, he was facing odds that even Han Solo himself would balk at. With just weeks of production and reshoots left after the original directors were fired, the filmmaker had to do the impossible and craft a complete blockbuster film worthy of the Star Wars name with extremely limited resources.
But Howard managed to turn out a good film that seemed to resonate with audiences; well, those who actually saw the movie anyways. Solo: A Star Wars Story is considered a box office disappointed, despite making over $300 million —it's a lot, but not enough for a Star Wars movie. And now Howard is opening up on why he thinks the movie failed to garner commercial success.
"I feel very good about the way it turned out. I love the way it played to audiences, which I witnessed and was a part of. So all of that I'm able to feel good about. Sure, I wish it would've done [better] and lived up to the box office and so forth, so that's disappointing," Howard explained. "Why? Maybe it's the release. Maybe it's the idea that it's sort of too nostalgic, going back and revisiting an origin story for a beloved character may not be what the fans were looking for. It kind of seemed to me, looking at it, the opening -- which was big, not as big as the others, it was probably my biggest opening, personally, it was still disappointing to them -- I think those are the hardcore fans. It sort of tells you how many people are tagalongs who need to wait to see what people think and whether it's essential, if it's a zeitgeist movie or not, and whether it's just 'I love Star Wars and I want to see what's next.'"
"So whatever millions [Solo] made worldwide, those were the core fans, but it didn't hit that zeitgeist point, for whatever reason. Timing, young Han Solo, pushback from the previous movie, which I kept hearing was maybe something," Howard explained. "And some trolling, definitely some trolling. Some actual aggressive... It was pretty interesting. Not so much, a little bit the Twitter feed, yes, but it was especially noticeable prior to the release of the movie. Several of the algorithms, whether it was Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, there was an inordinate push down on the 'want to see' and on the fan voting. And when you look at it, it's like 3, 4, 5 -- or whatever the rating is, I forget what the rating is on Rotten Tomatoes, whether it's a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 -- but pretty high, and then a series of 0s or .5s or 1s."
It's hard to quantify all of the factors that went into Solo's less-than-stellar sales, whether it was backlash from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or fatigue from the franchise and the May release date, or the fact that there was little fan demand for a Han Solo origin story.
Either way, it seems unlikely that we'll ever get a sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story as Lucasfilm shifts their strategy for the future of the franchise.