Lucasfilm has chosen to put films in their Star Wars Anthology Series on hold for the time being. Instead, the company will focus on producing Star Wars: Episode IX, due for release in 2019. The company will also focus on a new trilogy of films being written by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson and a series of films helmed by Game of Thrones scribes David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. So far only two Star Wars Anthology films have been released, 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and last month’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. The Anthology Series, which focuses on spin-off stories not set in the main series’ timeframe, had two films rumored to be in active development: a film that featured Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and one that followed famed bounty hunter Boba Fett, which was being helmed by Logan director James Mangold. Both of these projects are now on hold at Lucasfilm.
Collider.com explains blame for Lucasfilm’s decision to halt production on their Anthology films is mostly being directed at the poor reception Solo: A Star Wars Story received last month. Garnering a lukewarm response from fans and critics alike, Solo fell well short of box office expectations, only bringing in $84 million on its opening weekend. In contrast, Rogue One grossed $155 million on its opening weekend in 2016. Film analysts have pointed out that while the film did fine by blockbuster standards, film executives had higher expectations for Solo as it was a Star Wars movie. In the film’s defense, industry insiders concede that Solo’s small box office take is also due to tougher competition. Solo is the first Star Wars movie to open in May since the franchise was bought by Disney, with other recent entries in the series opening in December. Facing competition from the likes of Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2, analysts say that a smaller box office take should have been expected by Lucasfilm.
Film experts also see Lucasfilm’s decision as being related to problems with producing the Star Wars Anthology films. Both Rogue One and Solo needed several weeks of reshoots, ballooning both film’s budgets past Lucasfilm’s initial estimates. In the case of Solo, Lucasfilm also chose to fire original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and replace them with the well-known Ron Howard. Director Josh Trank was also slated to direct a film about Boba Fett in 2016 but was removed from the project following disagreements with Lucasfilm.