In an interview a year after the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ron Howard blamed the backlash from The Last Jedi for his film’s poor box office performance.
Solo: A Star Wars Story debuted on May 10, 2018, pulling in a meager $393 million. That may sound like a lot, but the other recent films took in billions, not millions. Although unpopular at first, the recent fan-led initiative #MakeSolo2Happen showed that many fans are finally coming around. Its reception may have been different if it didn’t come out less than 6 months after The Last Jedi.
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 reported that he felt very good about the project and regrets that it didn’t perform better at the box office.
Was Solo Really To Blame?
Howard’s claim definitely has teeth. In the months leading up to Solo’s release, disgruntled fans were heavily pushing the #BoycottStarWars hashtag. Many fans were clearly upset about The Last Jedi, and wanted to teach Kathleen Kennedy a lesson. By making Solo flop, they wanted to send a message to take more care with the future of Star Wars. And it seemed to have worked. Later in 2018, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed, “You can expect some slowdown … we’re going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing.”
But in the last year, as the wounds created from The Last Jedi are starting to heal, fans are coming around to Solo. It was a great movie, with great acting and a fun story. And the cameo of Maul begs for further explanation in a sequel.
While I’m glad that LucasFilm is being more careful about future Star Wars releases, I agree with Ron Howard that Solo’s failure was mostly caused by backlash from The Last Jedi.