If you felt that Disney releasing Solo: A Star Wars Story just five months after The Last Jedi was a mistake, you’re not alone. Even actor Mark Hamill took the studio to task for not giving The Last Jedi enough time to breathe, and the relatively disappointing box office of Solo—it made $392 million worldwide, while all the other Disney Star Wars movies cracked $1 billion—seems to suggest Hamill and those many fans were correct. And now with the benefit of hindsight, Disney CEO Bob Iger feels the same.
In a new interview with THR, Iger admits the timing decision on the Star Wars films was his, and that it was a mistake. Moreover, Iger says they’re going to be pumping the breaks a bit with future Star Wars movies:
“I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna make films. J.J. [Abrams] is busy making [Episode] IX. We have creative entities, including [Game of Thrones creators David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven’t been specific about. And we are just at the point where we’re gonna start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re gonna be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.”
Solo wasn’t the only film that took criticism for its timing. When screenwriter Michael Arndt departed Star Wars: The Force Awakens after working on the script for eight months, Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy reportedly lobbied Iger to push the release date of the film back from 2015 to 2016. Iger stood firm, having promised investors revenue that would be generated from the Star Wars film’s 2015 release. They compromised by releasing the film in December and Abrams and Co. made it (barely), but now a few years and a few films into this thing, Iger is starting to understand that making a Star Wars movie is sometimes far more complex than making any other kind of film.
We know Episode IX hits theaters in December 2019, but beyond that Disney hasn’t set any release dates for future projects. As Iger mentioned, Benioff and Weiss are crafting a new franchise, and Rian Johnson is also toiling away on his new trilogy. But Benioff and Weiss are currently in post-production on the final season of Game of Thrones and Johnson is about to direct a murder mystery movie with Daniel Craig, so it’s not like anything’s in the hopper and ready to start filming early next year. Could 2020 go by without a new Star Wars movie? It’s unclear what, exactly, Iger means by a “slowdown,” but it’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens over the next few months.