STAR WARS: Is Lucasfilm In Damage Control Mode?

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Well, it seems we might just get that Obi Wan Kenobi spin-off film, after all.

Amidst reports that Disney and Lucasfilm have cancelled all plans for additional Star Wars anthology films, the studios are now on record denying those claims; instead, they’re executing a course correction. Unidentified sources within Lucasfilm recently told The Hollywood Reporter that, while they aren’t specifically shelving proposed projects (including the highly anticipated Boba Fett and Kenobi films), they are reevaluating their approach to producing and releasing those films.

Reeling from Solo: A Star Wars Story’s relatively dismal domestic box office returns (comparatively: while Solo has barely breached $200 million domestically in its entire run thus far, The Last Jedi’s opening weekend domestic haul alone topped over $220 million), the studio is reassessing proposed budgets and marketing in an effort to ensure they don’t repeat the mistakes made with Solo.

Despite the draw of the Han Solo name, the film floundered primarily due to two factors, both directly attributable to the studio: 1) the failure to recognize the potential for Star Wars fatigue in the wake of the vehemently divided reaction to The Last Jedi, and moving the release date up to May instead of December; and 2) not marketing the film as it had prior films, in this case not starting its campaign for Solo until the Super Bowl, a scant three months prior to release.

For now, James Mangold and Simon Kinberg remain in play for Boba Fett, and Stephen Daldry still appears to be the front runner to direct Kenobi, though neither he nor his agents are commenting on the project at this time. Other proposals, however, such as a film focusing on the Star Wars underworld (perhaps chronicling Maul’s rise from his defeat at the hands of Darth Sidious in Season 5 of The Clone Wars to lead Crimson Dawn)? I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Let’s hope whatever corrections Lucasfilm and Disney make set the franchise back on course. Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of a younger Obi Wan was a highlight of the prequels; it would be a shame to deny fans a reprisal. Mark Andrews Jersey

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