Disney and Lucasfilm's first Star Wars Story movie is officially a big success. Rogue One just won its third weekend in a row at the box office. And in just over two weeks of release, it managed to become the second-highest grossing movie (at least domestically) of 2016. That should give them a lot of confidence as they head towards production on the young Han Solo movie. But they may be rethinking their original release date, given the success of both Star Wars: Rogue One and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
This isn't coming from Disney or Lucasfilm directly, so for now at least, it needs to be taken as a rumor, but the often reliable fan site Making Star Wars is reporting that the studio is looking to shift Han Solo: A Star Wars Story to a December release date. According to their sources, the movie will land in theaters on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Disney previously had the movie pegged for a May 25, 2018 release date. But after seeing the pattern of their movies being able to run the table in December, it makes perfect sense that they would want to move things around a bit.
The potential problem with releasing a Star Wars movie in May is that it is right in the heart of the summer movie season. Every studio in Hollywood wants to put their big movies out around that time and it has really made things incredibly competitive, especially in recent years with so many massive tentpole and franchise movies needing to find a home. Even though Han Solo: A Star Wars Story would still probably do very well (it is a Star Wars movie, after all), it could be limited by some stiff competition. In December, on the other hand, it is typically a little more free and clear. This year it seemed like Star Wars: Rogue One would have a tough second week with the release of Passengers and Assassin's Creed, but both of those bombed. Sure, that was in part due to poor critical reception, but people really liked the idea of watching Star Wars instead. There just isn't as much competition in that month and people appear to be hungry for something like Star Wars at that time.
We don't know much about the Han Solo movie right now, but we do know that The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are directing the Han Solo spin-off and that Alden Ehrenreich is set to play the legendary smuggler. In addition, Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has been cast as the female lead, but her character hasn't been identified yet, and Donald Glover has been cast as a young Lando Calrissian. It has also been said that the movie will take place about ten years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and that Chewbacca will be in it, which only makes sense.
So far, the results of Disney's $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm back in 2012 have been nothing if not profitable and that has largely been thanks to their December release strategy. Star Wars: Episode VIII will be continuing that pattern later this year when it finally hits theaters on December 15. If this rumor about the upcoming Han Solo movie turns out to be true (which it more than likely will), then it looks like Lucasfilm is planting their flag in December for the foreseeable future. December will soon become synonymous with Star Wars. At this time, Disney and Lucasfilm are currently seeking extras for Han Solo as it begins shooting in early 2017.