Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Disney’s third foray into George Lucas’s critically acclaimed Star Wars universe, received widespread praise among critics, but fell far short with audiences.
Review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes reports the film received a 90% approval rating from professional reviewers, but less than a 50% approval rating from average audience members. Nevertheless, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has since become one of the highest grossing films in cinema history, lagging behind only it’s predecessor Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Despite The Last Jedi’s commercial success, the next film in the franchise has apparently struggled to make it through the production process. Industry analysts were stunned when Lucasfilm chose to fire Solo: A Star Wars Story’s directorial team last year.
Firing a director in the middle of a project is not entirely unheard of, but many feel the decision to do so may signal serious trouble.
Since then, Disney has hired famed writer/director Ron Howard to rehabilitate the new film, which follows the adventures of a young Han Solo. The new director, who was hired in June, has already re-shot significant portions of the movie (potentially as much as 80% of it, according to some sources) and industry insiders are worried such significant edits and do-overs so close to the film’s May 2018 release date could produce a product that is rushed and hard to follow.
Disney seems to disagree, and has allegedly been extremely satisfied with Mr. Howard’s performance thus far.
Ultimately, Disney knows it has room to breath when it comes to the Star Wars franchise as each film has proven both extremely popular and largely immune to the sort of audience apathy that has built up around some of it’s other properties, like the much maligned Pirates of the Caribbean.
Only time will tell if Disney is able to continue the franchise’s thus far unparalleled success, and Star Wars fans should keep be keeping their eyes open; sources close to the production report a trailer should be released soon.