For 24 hours the internet was by turns aghast, bemused, resigned, analytical and nonchalant in response to reports that Lucasfilm had pumped the brakes on any future Star Wars movies that weren’t either part of the core Saga or the trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson.
That decision was at least in part because, the report said, of the poor box-office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is destined to retain its title as the lowest grossing film to bear the Star Wars moniker. That misstep was throwing everything up in the air.
The story spread like wildfire because, in large part, it confirmed everyone’s preferred narrative, that Lucasfilm, particularly producer Kathleen Kennedy, couldn’t be trusted with the most holy of cinematic franchises. “See!” everyone shouted, “We told you. Now help me remake The Last Jedi.”
(Note: That last part is not a joke but something that’s actually happening. I can’t even with these people…)
One problem: It’s not at all accurate. 24 hours after that initial report hit, ABC published a statement from Lucasfilm saying things were going just fine and that there were still a number of Star Wars projects, many of them unannounced, that were still moving forward.
In other words, all of that was for nothing.
There may very well indeed be some reevaluation of plans going on within Lucasfilm. I’m sure, though, that such course corrections are made at regular intervals, just as they likely are at Marvel Studios, Fox, Paramount and other studios, particularly those that manage big franchises.
Those are the same kinds of course corrections and tweaks made by producers of television shows, which makes sense given the modern film franchise operates with a similar model. What do you think the odds are that “Supernatural,” “Buffy” or any other long-running show continued without any sort of change in plans?
What’s astounding to me is that everyone picked up and began wildly speculating on a story based on an anonymous source. Surely someone could have reached out to Lucasfilm to confirm or refute the rumor, right?
No, because that’s not how modern media works. It’s important to remember that these aren’t reporters in most cases, they’re writers. That’s a significant distinction and one that all but guarantees we’ll be going through this again before too long.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.