‘Solo’ is a financial flop, but is there a creative solution?

Han and Chewie in Solo: A Star Wars Story | Lucasfilm

*Some spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story to follow*

By now, we know that Solo: A Star Wars Story is a major flop by the standards of box office gross. We don’t need to rehash the reasons for this, because I already took a deep dive into the argument for why people just don’t seem to care much about this movie. The question moving forward isn’t going to be why, but how they can fix this problem.

Rest assured, nobody at Lucasfilm fears the death of Star Wars over one financial flop. By pushing the right buttons, they should be able to avoid losing money on any and all future movies. After all, had they not fired Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, brought in Ron Howard, and re-shot practically all of Solo, the disappointing domestic return might still have been enough for a small profit.

So don’t be expecting any rash decisions, like halting the forward progress of unannounced but inevitable projects like the Boba Fett movie and the Obi-Wan Kenobi movie.

But what about Solo and its future? There was talk in the weeks leading up to its release on Memorial Day weekend that Lucasfilm saw the potential for a Solo trilogy, or at the very least a Solo sequel. Maybe a Lando spinoff, too. What happens with all of that?

The weird quirk is that, while The Last Jedi has created a polarizing firestorm in recent months, audiences — those that actually showed up — are in general agreement that Solo is a fine addition to the franchise. Alden Ehrenreich was better than many (including me) expected, Donald Glover was excellent as Lando, and the film was a whole lot of fun.

Sure, it wasn’t in any way an essential movie and there were minor plot problems. But it’s clear that the quality of Howard’s finished project isn’t what’s responsible for the disappointing ticket sales.

Doubling down on this character and the story as another big-ticket motion picture may not be the way to go. As far as we can tell, Solo leaves us with the two main characters, around 10 years prior to A New Hope, in the Millennium Falcon and on their way to Tatooine. Han and Chewie are going there to track down a big-time gangster — Jabba the Hutt — that’s putting together a team.

Doesn’t what follows sound like it could be a story that’s best told in a live-action TV series?

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo | Lucasfilm
Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo | Lucasfilm

Disney and Lucasfilm have found their biggest creative success with Star Wars Rebels, a show spun from the genius of Dave Filoni. Rather than having just a few hours to sell an audience on new characters, Rebels put together dozens of hours that fleshed out Ezra Bridger, Hera Syndulla, Kanan Jarrus, and others. It wasn’t long before you knew their stories and were sympathetic to them. You saw true character development, practically in real time.

It could make sense for Solo to play out that way, too. A live-action series featuring Han and Chewie smuggling goods around the galaxy while ducking the Empire is loaded with possibilities. It would also be the best way to truly show how the wide-eyed hopeful Han Solo we saw in the movie eventually became the cynical scoundrel we originally encountered at Mos Eisley.

It would be Lucasfilm’s version of the MCU’s Agents of SHIELD. Ehrenreich isn’t a big enough movie star to avoid making the transition to TV, so this should be doable. For better or for worse, he and Han Solo are attached at the hip now. Other characters could return, as well.

It wouldn’t necessarily make sense to bring Darth Maul into the show, given how Han has pretty much broken ties with Crimson Dawn and Qi’ra at this point. But Boba Fett is an easy character to bring to the small screen, as is Jabba the Hutt. Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine wouldn’t be a tough or expensive scene to recreate. There are truly few prohibitions to taking a potential sequel and instead making a live-action, episodic TV show.

The only question is whether Disney would want to do it. There is already one new cartoon show, Star Wars Resistance, that has been announced. But we also know that Jon Favreau (who voiced Rio in Solo, by the way) is working a live-action TV series, and not too many details have been revealed as of yet. Could this end up being a Solo series?

While it’s a good idea in my book, it seems like somewhat of a long shot. Lucasfilm hasn’t proven to be too willing to adapt their line of thinking under Disney, and if their initial reaction to Solo was to make a sequel the best bet is that’s what they’ll do. It’s easy enough to blame low ticket sales on the Memorial Day release, proximity to the release of The Last Jedi, the lack of marketing, the battle with Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2, and other outside factors.

But if Lucasfilm wants to be honest with themselves on the best way to continue telling this story, putting Han and Chewie into a live-action TV series might be the correct route.

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