While claiming to be a "fan" of a movie franchise often means you have an undying love of a series, the world of Star Wars has proven the opposite reaction, as some viewers claim to be devout fans and go on to express their hatred of various components of the franchise, with Solo: A Star Wars Story director Ron Howard claiming that George Lucas warned him about the toxicity in the franchise when he took on the filmmaking job. Clearly that toxicity didn't deter Howard from delivering that fan base Solo, as Lucas reminded him that the films were for the fans above all else.
"It doesn't happen on every movie with that kind of intensity, but it sort of goes with the territory when you have a really high-level intellectual property, there was a bit of that when I did [How the Grinch Stole Christmas] 20 years ago," Howard explained to Collider when discussing toxicity in movie audiences. "George Lucas is a mentor, a tremendous friend. He warned me, and he's always said, 'It's for the fans, yet you have to have the courage to hear them but tell the story you want to tell.'"
The filmmaker went on to note that, while Star Wars stories should excite fans, Lucas himself is most excited by the storytellers trying to push the franchise into unexpected directions.
"He's all for the galaxy expanding and experimenting," Howard detailed. "That's what he prefers the most. He gets most excited about those that want to push the boundaries of a Star Wars movie or a TV show. And he always contemplated TV shows, he did animated [series], so I was sort of prepared for it."
When Howard enlisted in the galaxy far, far away, he had the unenviable task of not only finishing production on Solo, but also helm the reshoots. While this was surely an exciting opportunity, Solo ended up feeling the unearned brunt of backlash from fans.
With only weeks left of production, original Solo directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller departed the project, citing creative differences between them and Lucasfilm. Given the excitement surrounding their contributions, this was a disappointing blow to fans. Later that year, Star Wars: The Last Jedi landed in theaters and, despite it being critically and financially successful, its storytelling decisions alienated some fans who were incredibly vocal about their disdain for the endeavor. Hitting theaters six months later, Solo earned relatively positive reactions from fans and critics, yet it fell far short of financial expectations, becoming the lowest-grossing film in the franchise.
Despite there being no one conclusive reason for the film's underwhelming box office performance, some fans claim Solo's numbers as proof that Lucasfilm had killed the franchise and lost its major fan base.
Stay tuned for details on the future of the Star Wars franchise.