Friday, June 22, 2018

Rumor: More Insight Into The Status of Future 'A Star Wars Story' Films

By: Dominic Jones

More details about what is going on with the future of the stand alone Star Wars films, known as the A Star Wars Story series, have been revealed by The Hollywood Reporter.  Writing for THR, Borys Kit spoke with several insiders to provide updates on how the company is responding to the disappointing box office returns of Solo: A Star Wars Story and what it's planning going forward.  Contrary to reports that all future A Star Wars Story films were on hold, one insider told Kit and THR, "They haven’t slowed down development, but they are licking their wounds."

This lines up with a semi-official denial of the original report that was released by ABC News yesterday (both Lucasfilm and ABC are owned by Disney), which claimed that "there are still "multiple" Star Wars films currently in development that have not been officially announced."

Kit goes on to provide updates on two of the projects that are rumored to be in development, an Obi-Wan Kenobi film potentially directed by Stephen Daldry and a Boba Fett film that directed by James Mangold with a script by Mangold and Simon Kinberg.  Both films were originally reported as being in development by Kit.

On the status of the Fett film, Mangold and Kinberg are still working on the script, though work won't begin on the film in earnest until after Mangold's next film, Ford V Ferrari, is complete.  That film, which stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale, is slated for a 2019 release.   However, there is also some concern from Lucasfilm about the success of a Fett film after Solo disappointment.  Kit reports that,

"Sources say that after the underperformance of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the project could now be reconfigured. The thinking is that if Han Solo, one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe, couldn’t sustain a big-budget origin feature, then any Fett movie would have to be scaled down, since though the character is popular, he’s certainly less well-known to most moviegoers than the Corellian smuggler."

As for Kenobi film, which was rumored to be in active pre-production at Pinewood Studios in London with filming slated to begin in 2019 for a December 2020 release, Kit reports that both Daldry's agent and the studio are not commenting on the status of the project.  It's also been pointed out that Ewan McGregor has signed on to star in Doctor Sleep which is slated to begin filming later this year.  However, if filming on a hypothetical Kenobi film is set to begin in Spring 2019, as was reported by Fantha Tracks, then it's likely that McGregor's commitment to Doctor Sleep would be complete by then.

As for when we can expect to see any of these projects, Kit reports that Lucasfilm is taking extra care to make sure they are picking the right projects in light of the negative press it has received in the past few months.  As it stands right now, there is only one Star Wars film with a release date, JJ Abrams' Star Wars Episode IX which hits theaters on December 20th, 2019.  Several other films have been announced, specifically a trilogy from The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson and a series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, though no release dates or story details have been announced.

It's been a bizarre week when it comes to reports of what's going on with the future A Star Wars Story films.  It began when it was reported that Lucasfilm had put all the future stand alone projects (outside of the Johnson trilogy and the Benioff and Weiss series) on hold.  Lucasfilm then denied this in a story from ABC.  It was then reported by that what caused the initial concern that the stand-alones had all been put on hold was the decision by Lucasfilm to shelve one project that was in active development, despite never having been announced or even rumored.  This now canceled project would have been a film that focused on the Mos Eisley Spaceport.

Through it all, it sounds like Lucasfilm is going to be more strategic in how it picks its projects going forward.  The studio released three massively successful films in three years, however it hit a snag in the last few months after Solo underperformed and The Last Jedi proved controversial in some corners. With eighteen months between films and no solid commitments when it comes to timeline after Episode IX, it appears the company is taking stock of what has worked and what hasn't and reevaluating its approach to the films it makes.

Hopefully this means less production issues (two of the four films required massive reshoots), better marketing for the films (much of Solo's under performance can be blamed on it's release date and ineffective marketing), and a commitment to making bold choices for the types of films it made (while Solo is a very enjoyable film, the idea of a Han Solo origin didn't inspire the same level of anticipation as the sequel films or even the story of how the Rebels stole the Death Star plans).  It's also good to hear that they aren't over-reacting to one misstep, and are continuing to push Star Wars forward.

As always these are just rumors until confirmed or denied by Lucasfilm or Disney.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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