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After Controversial “Last Jedi,” Disney Re-shoots Solo: A Star Wars Story

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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.

Advance Reviews Indicate the Force Is With “The Last Jedi”

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“Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” will make its debut on December 15, and critics are already giving it multiple thumbs up. Some have called it the best “Star Wars” movie since “The Empire Strikes Back,” which was made way back in 1980. “The Last Jedi” is the sequel to 2015’s “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” that had introduced characters like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to fans of the series. The ninth and final installment is expected to premiere in 2019.

“The Last Jedi” will pick up where “The Force Awakens” left off with Rey meeting Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). It will introduce new characters like Admiral Holdo (Laura Den), Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), and DJ (Benicio del Toro). It will also serve as the swan song for the late Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa. Rian Johnson took over the directing duties from J.J. Abrams, and he also did the writing.

Now that the filmmakers have lifted their embargo, the first reviews have been posted online. Most of the few complaints have to do with the film’s pacing with the middle feeling particularly busy. The critics praise the film’s special effects and action set pieces, and most were pleased by “Last Jedi’s” homages to earlier installments in the series. Kristy Puchko of “CBR” appreciated Fisher’s performance as Leia, describing her as “fiery as ever, yet regal, and all around glorious.” She was similarly impressed with Hamill.

Joshua Yehl, writing for “IGN,” calls “The Last Jedi ”the “quintessential Star Wars movie.” While he does complain about some of the pacing, he gives the movie props for having a satisfying ending – which is no mean feat for the next-to-last film in a series. All signs indicate that “Last Jedi” will do very well, both critically and commercially. When Abrams returns to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” he could have a lot to live up to.