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Is Disney Going to Push Back Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Release Date?

It’s January 15th. Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out a little over four months from now. We haven’t seen a teaser or trailer or even one of those newfangled trailers for the trailer. Beyond that, we haven’t seen an official still from the movie. All we have, really, are rumors, an informal cast photo from the set, and the following official plot synopsis, newly released by LucasFilms:

“Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.”

Well, that’s super generic.

Ultra-brief recap from a couple of months ago: These two dudes were making Solo. Then they weren’t. Ron Howard stepped in to not only finish the film but also re-shoot a lot of it even though at that point the production was only supposed to have a couple of weeks left.

Good. Now we’re all caught up.

As a result of all behind the scenes shuffling, Solo is now the rare four-quadrant summer blockbuster to have an absolutely non-existent marketing presence less than 6 months before its release. Deadpool 2, by comparison, is due out the week before Solo and it already has two teaser trailers. Oceans 8 comes out the week after Solo, and it’s trailer has been streamed 10 million times on YouTube since last month.

Ideally, Disney would have attached the first Solo trailer to Last Jedi or maybe premiered it during one of the various recent big TV events, such as The Golden Globes, NCAA National Championship Game, or NFL Playoffs. Oh, well. When you fire a film’s directors so close to the planned end of production and then push through massive reshoots marketing campaigns just have to wait.

But how much longer can the wait last? When do we start talking seriously about Disney maybe having to push back the release date, especially now that Fox smelled blood in the water and moved Deadpool 2 to open right before Solo?

First things first, let’s look to see what December looks like right now because after three straights years of Force Awakens/Rogue One/Last Jedi surely the rest of Hollywood has already swooped in to claim December 2019 in the name of Not-Disney:

Huh. Mortal Engines is Peter Jackson’s new movie, which makes it notable but not a slam dunk. Into the Spider-Verse’s first trailer was astounding, but Sony still needs to educate the general public about the existence of a new animated Spider-Man movie. Aquaman has James Wan behind it and Jason “My Man!” Mamoa, but after Justice League who the hell knows what to expect from WB’s DC movies anymore. Bumblebee is the oddly stacked Transformers spin-off – Laika’s Travis Knight is directing! Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, and Pamela Adlon…WTF are they all doing in a Transformers movie together? And Untitled Fox/Lightstorm can suck it until we know more about it.

Takeaway: If Disney moved Solo to one of those weeks I could see a ripple effect of release date changes, some studios scrambling to move out of the way, others standing pat and calling Disney’s bluff since Solo looks like tainted goods right now.

So, you’re telling me it could get pushed back?

Eh. Look a little further down that release date chart:

Ah, fish. That Mary Poppins is another Disney movie, huh. Bob Iger’s not going to want to compete with himself.

Plus, aren’t there toy lines, merchandising deals, comic books, and God knows what else that have to be planned months in advance? Surely we’re nearing the point of no return where the cost of delay will negatively impact all of those other revenue streams and quarterly projections. Synergy has no time for troubled productions.

Maybe. But maybe this has actually been Disney’s plan all along. Not so much the “fire the directors” part. No, that was bad. More the “let’s wait for Last Jedi to run its course before mounting a Solo marketing blitz” part. After all, no Star Wars movies have overlapped with each other like this before. This is uncharted territory for the franchise.

Whatever the case may be, ScreenRant’s been reading the signs and doesn’t see any sign of Disney cracking:

It’s entirely possible that the Deadpool shift is going to be followed up by a Solo release date change. But, taking into account everything we know and expect from the film, studio, and distributor, that just doesn’t seem likely. Solo is coming in May, and it will take some serious carbonite to get in its way.

I’m inclined to agree, if only because it feels like if they were going to push Solo back they would have done so by now, especially after Deadpool 2‘s move.

What about you? Let me know in the comments.

Source: ScreenRant


  1. I really really wish they would stop these Star Wars films. Star Wars shouldn’t be a Universe. Why can’t people see it as what it really is. Timeless movies from the 70s and 80s that were Blockbuster hits and nothing else. The prequels are terrible and the new ones are bad. Even Rogue One sucked. It lacked characters and emotion. These movies suck because you can’t do anything with Star Wars that’s actually interesting. To be honest the Caravan of Courage and Battle for Endor were far more interesting story lines.

  2. I think they will push it…they are just waiting for the audience being distracted with something else before doing it. Maybe when Black Panther gets released.

    They certainly won’t push it now that it will look like a reaction to Deadpool 2 getting moved. Disney isn’t reactionary and very careful to not leave the impression that they’ll let himself bully to move anything.

    1. They should push it. Whether or not they will remains to be seen. If we think of this as a “either open it in May or push it mid-December” prospect then I think they’d probably rather keep Mary Poppings on Christmas than have to move it to avoid Star Wars (unless they think the two can co-exist, which is true but not Disney’s standard M.O. these days). Les Mis, La La, and Greatest Showman have shown that Christmas Day is the perfect time to release a musical. There’s no recent live-action precedent of any musical prospering outside of that release window. Solo, on the other hand, if it stays in May it’s going to get crushed by Deadpool 2 or they’ll each hurt each other, but that’s at least a period where Star Wars was once a dominant force.

      If they do push it back, I think you are right about this: “they are just waiting for the audience being distracted with something else before doing it. Maybe when Black Panther gets released.” Moving it so close after Deadpool 2 would mean transparently conceding defeat, and that’s not Disney’s game.

      It’s just so funny that this is all happening at the same time Disney is in the process of buying Fox.

      1. Christmas is packed this year….Between Mary Poppins, Bohemian Rhapsody, the Spider-verse movie and a few other releases, there are a lot of end of the year releases which speak to the same demographic. If they push it, they might want to consider a late December/Early February release.

        But then, they just released a new synopsis with the current release date attached, and I suspect they only did it to clarify that they won’t budge. It might be a matter of principle.

        The upside: Deadpool is a r-rated release. Solo isn’t.

      2. Plus, Christmas will inevitably add a bunch of awards movies we won’t have any way of knowing about until after the film festivals.

        My expectation is if they do push it to December they’ll be doing so under the assumption that some of the competition will simply move out of the way. WB is particularly vulnerable with its DC movies. Maybe Aquaman hightails it and runs. Sony’s animated Spider-Man is a gamble. Bohemian Rhapsody is a troubled production that will likely function as a quasi-jukebox musical (I know it’s a biopic, not a true musical) going up against Disney’s industry-shaking might with Mary Poppins. It stays there simply to get Rami Malek awards consideration, maybe turns into a Platform release delaying its wide release until mid-January ala The Post and Phantom Thread this year.

        The problem, of course, is if this turns into a game of chicken where the competition, perhaps sensing their one and only opportunity to actually challenge Disney/Star Wars and win, refuses to blink, and then we end up with all of them bunched together at the end of the year, each studio waiting for the other to give it up. That’ll mean less certainty and open space for awards contenders and, most likely, a really messed up December and even more festival pickups movies like Mudbound just going to Netflix.

        If they stay in May, though, you’re right about the upside. There is going to be considerable geek overlap between Deadpool 2 and Solo, but if we look back at last March R-Rated Logan managed to co-exist with PG-13 Kong: Skull Island and PG Beauty and the Beast just fine. Less so for Ghost in the Shell and Power Rangers, but there were winners and losers as there always are. An R-Rated comic book movie doesn’t necessarily have to mean the decimation of all other movies…that is unless Deadpool 2 does crazy, monster, historically big biz, which it might. More than anything else, though, if Solo is surprisingly good and the word-of-mouth is there it’ll probably manage to do perfectly fine for itself, particularly if Disney gets out in front of it and lowers the financial expectations ala Marvel and the first Ant-Man. It’ll just have to be extra good to win back those fans who might have sworn off Disney’s Star Wars after Last Jedi.

      3. I like Deadpool well-enough, but just like GotG couldn’t recreate the same magic (though I actually love the sequel), another Deadpool will neither. The thing Disney has currently to do more than anything else is to change the narrative around Solo. Not sure if that will work if they move the movie. I guess it all depends on how good it is and if Disney feels that they can improve its reception by delaying it. And if they don’t trust in the movie, it might actually be a smart move to keep it close to infinity war…it will keep other contenders away and the bad buzz might not be that bad if the majority of the fans are distracted by something shiny.

      4. I get the Deadpool/GotG comparison, and you might be right. But GotG 2 still made more money than the first one even though it switched release slots from August for the first one to May for the sequel. So, I think Deadpool 2 still has a good shot at recapturing the box office magic. It just matters how well it fares against stiffer competition than whatever the heck else played alongside the first Deadpool in February 2015.

        “the bad buzz might not be that bad if the majority of the fans are distracted by something shiny.”

        Honestly, I think you just perfectly summarized Hollywood’s new favorite PR strategy.

      5. Sure, but GotG Vol 2 made most of its money in the first week, while GotG had a lot of staying power. Deadpool will flare up, but I am not sure if it will get a lot of repeated viewings. We will see. Infinity war has certainly the advantage due to dropping first (btw, one week earlier in a lot of international market…I will be able to watch it at the end of april), and being rated PG-13. And I think there is enough business around for both…everything else hitting the same demographic better go out of the way, though.

  3. Push it back to December. They can continue the new tradition that way. I know there used to be another tradition with the Original Trilogy but times have changed (for the worse).

    1. I actually totally agree. They should push it back; I just don’t know if they will. The one-two punch of a divisive main trilogy movie (Last Jedi) followed by a subpar Han Solo movie getting crushed by Deadpool 2 all happening within 6 months of each other is something they’d sure prefer to avoid, but with each new day without a release date change the harder it’s going to be to pull that trigger.

      I didn’t reference it in the article because I don’t know how reliable it is, but there has been a report floating from “an anonymous insider” that Disney is preparing to write-off Solo as a loss, viewing it as ultimately an unsalvagable project. That, to me, would suggest a “fuck it, let’s just keep it in May” mentality. But, again, I don’t know reliable that is.

  4. I definitely think it makes sense for them to push it back, especially since releasing the movies in December, during the holiday season, probably makes them a killing on merchandise.

    1. Oddly, Last Jedi was not the blockbuster toy seller Force Awakens was.

      But, I agree, Star Wars and December is an undeniable part of Disney’s winning strategy now. I never understood why they broke from that and put Solo in May in the first place. It seems like this whole December strategy was never actually by choice but instead caused by production difficulty necessity, and that if Disney had had their way Force Awakens, Rogue One, Last Jedi would have all been summer movies. Yet when you make over $3 billion on those movies combined in back-to-back-to-back Decembers (and who knows how much on merch) why the hell mess with success. The problem is that since they vacated December this year the other studios moved in, and for Disney to try to move Solo to December now will mean other big movies either blinking and moving out of the way or simply calling Disney’s bluff and seeing if they really do want to compete head-to-head with Aquaman, Spider-Man, Peter Jackson, and even themselves via Mary Poppins.

      Like anything else, it’ll work itself out in the end. Sometimes these troubled productions surprise us with an entirely un-troubled final film, and Solo could stay in May and be awesome. I’m beginning to suspect it will indeed stay in May; I just don’t know how awesome it’ll actually be as a movie.

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