Are ‘Star Wars’ Fans Really Getting Tired of the Franchise?
Tired of Star Wars? After more than 40 years and 11 mostly successful theatrical films, the notion would not be so far-fetched. The idea may sound preposterous at first, but it comes from someone very near and dear to Lucasfilm and to fans: Luke Skywalker himself.
Mark Hamill hints at fatigue
Mark Hamill, whose voice can be heard in the new Episode IX trailer that dropped last week, told the Hollywood Reporter this when asked if fatigue had played a part in Solo’s underwhelming box office performance:
“Yes. I’m not gonna tell them how to run their business, but is there a possibility of ‘Star Wars fatigue’? Yeah, I think there is. I’ve experienced it, to a certain degree. But they never listen to my ideas anyway, so who needs ’em?”
Hamill may have a point. Solo only grossed $213 million total, which is what most other Star Wars films gross in three or four weeks. The worldwide box office, which is increasingly important to studios, was even more disappointing: $179 million. By contrast, The Last Jedi, which was considered a “failure” by a number of fans, managed to gross $712 million worldwide.
While the standalone Rogue One did extremely well, making $532 million here, that had come out a full year after The Force Awakens. By contrast, Solo arrived only five months after The Last Jedi, and that may have played a part in that film’s underperformance.
Slowing down ‘Star Wars’
Although Disney and Lucasfilm executives didn’t point to Solo specifically as the reason, they did tell the press recently the mouse house would be putting the brakes on the franchise as they figure out their new direction.
“We have not announced any specific plans for movies thereafter,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a Bloomberg Television interview recently. “There are movies in development, but we have not announced them.”
Instead, TV will become the focus for now.
“We will take a pause,
So, no, there will be no Episode X. Any new Star Wars film that does eventually come out will be a new story, not something focusing specifically on the long-running Skywalker saga.
The evidence against fatigue
Some will argue that just because one movie was a disappointment doesn’t necessarily mean fans are tired of the franchise overall. As Hamill himself pointed out, there’s lots more Star Wars on the way.
“They already have animation, with Clone Wars, Rebels and what’s it called, The Mandalorian? that’s a Jon Favreau TV series.” the actor said. Those and other Star Wars projects are slated to appear on the new streaming service, Disney+, which is scheduled to launch Nov. 12, about a month before Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters.
And Disney certainly doesn’t expect any fan fatigue later this year when it opens its Star or Wars-themed lands called Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, at the Hollywood Studios park. Disney expects crowds to be immense – so much so that they’re banning strollers larger than 31 inches wide. So there will be fatigue, but it will be fatigue by people visiting Disney parks, not fatigue of Star Wars specifically.
While Bloomberg did point to declining toy sales as a cause for concern, the new Disney attractions and the high anticipation for Episode IX suggest that fans aren’t sick of Star Wars just yet. In a forum on Reddit, one fan called “staatsclaas” cracked that Disney may pull a Harry Potter or Avengers with The Rise of Skywalker.
“Fake out. Here comes Episode IX Part I and II.”