Ron Howard says there aren’t any concrete plans for a Solo: A Star Wars Story sequels just yet. After a tumultuous shift in production from former co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to Oscar-winning director Howard, fans are gearing up to weigh in on whether Solo flies high or misses the mark when it makes its long awaited debut in theaters later this month.
While early word about the film has yet to surface, fans are no doubt excited for the prospects of the film; so much so that its advance ticket sales on Fandango are already outpacing Black Panther and it’s projected for a record-breaking $170 million opening. That’s definitely good news for Disney and Lucasfilm, considering that their last Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, while still a major hit, finished more than $300 million behind the domestic mark of The Force Awakens. Better yet, it seems to ensure that the quality of the film won’t seem to matter as much moviegoers, at least not for its opening day/weekend. However, the movie’s theatrical run will ultimately be determined by its quality and substantial word of mouth.
One definite positive for the film came a couple weeks back when Alden Ehrenreich confirmed a three-picture deal to play Han Solo. It was a surprising development considering that the Star Warsanthology films were originally designed to be one-off films, a la Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, rather than film series of their own. Responding to the news about Ehrenreich’s deal, Howard implied in an interview with Fandango that no other pictures were set in stone, and Disney and Lucasfilm were taking a wait and see approach once the film finally hits theaters. He says:
“I think the fans are going to define all of that. I mean I think that Lucasfilm and Disney in casting actors, and particularly younger actors, want to see what happens and build upon that. Certainly, they want the commitment from the young actors, but there are no concrete plans. I think there’s been a lot of creative energy and now marketing energy going behind this movie.”
As for Solo: A Star Wars Story becoming more than a one-off adventure, Howard says:
“I think these are exactly what they’re meant to be, or what they’re designed to be. They’re single movies exploring the galaxy; but of course, as a company, I think they’re going to be very interested to see how people respond to it and take it from there. This whole thing is kind of a cool, ambitious exploration of what the galaxy and the Star Wars sensibility can continue to mean to fans.”
Even though multi-picture deals are standard in the business for franchise films (Felicity Jones even had a sequel option even though her character perishes in Rogue One), word of the deal on the surface seems to imply the studio’s confidence in Ehrenreich and his performance as the young scoundrel, an implication that bodes well for fans. But, truth be told, the deal in all likelihood was cut around the time Ehrenreich was cast, rather than in reaction to his performance after filming was completed.
In reality, it all comes down to economics. For the sake of argument, if Ehrenreich only signed on for Solo and the film becomes a monster hit, that would give him the upper-hand when negotiating his fee for sequels. That’s not to say fees for additional films can’t be renegotiated, but by getting the actor to sign to a three-picture deal, it’s a way for studios to keep their costs in check. In other words, fans shouldn’t be reading too much into the deal as nothing more than a matter of sound business practices, rather than a guarantee of more Solo films.