Episode IX

What’s the Biggest Problem on the Horizon for Star Wars: Episode IX?

Hint: It's not "The Last Jedi" backlash or "Solo" box office...

What worries might be on the horizon for Episode IX?

So I am home from a quick trip, and taking stock of the Star Wars universe. And, if you’ve been reading my stuff over the last year and a half, you know that a solid common-sense-take floats my landspeeder.

Case in point: Scott Mendelson’s June 26 post on Forbes.com, entitled, “Star Wars 9’s Big Problem Won’t Be Last Jedi Backlash Or Solo Failure.”

Now, Scott and I don’t always agree (and I am sure he’s worried–ha ha), but this post just made good sense.

Sure, Mendelson tugged at my heartstrings by writing:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi debuts on Netflix [on June 26], just over seven months after its theatrical opening weekend and just as a bunch of trolls have gamed the Internet by announcing their intentions to, uh, remake The Last Jedi in a way that pleases them. I wouldn’t pay these folks much mind, as A) you can safely ignore folks, and B) blogging about them, even in jest, gives them the media credibility they so desire. But for the record, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi is arguably the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back.

Love it. But it’s the argument down the page, which has me thinking  (and not a little worried):

The biggest “threat” to Star Wars 9‘s final global gross isn’t Star Wars fatigue, fan backlash or any other potentially non-existent variables. It’ll be the sheer amount of big movies opening in November and December of 2019. November alone will see Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.’s Wonder Woman 1984, Paramount/Viacom Inc.’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Annapurna’s James Bond 25, Paramount’s Terminator reboot and Walt Disney’s Frozen 2. And then December will have Walt Disney’s Star Wars 9, Fox’s Death on the Nile, Universal’s Wicked and Sony’s Jumanji 3 all likely/possibly opening on or around Episode 9‘s Dec. 20 release.

Yikes. And then Mendelson jumped into a further breakdown of Episode IX‘s competition this morning.

So what are you getting at, John? Spit it out.

Okay, and yeah, this is a bit of a no-brainer: I agree with most everyone who’s said whatever it was that kept fans out of the theater for Solo: A Star Wars Story, it wasn’t any sort of boycott fueled by The Last Jedi rigamarole.

But here’s the thing: I really do hope that Lucasfilm thinks very, very carefully about its marketing going into this one. Why? Because it’s called show business.

Jason Ward recently wrote a cogent explanation of why many Star Wars fans do care about box office results:

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fantastic movie. I wouldn’t change it for anything. The box office numbers do not change the quality of the released work. Lucasfilm has made four new really good Star Wars films. I hope they do well financially so they make more…


Call me old. That’s fine. I am old. However, I have no desire to go decades between trilogies ever again. Blockbuster movies need to make cash, so I am praying to the Maker that everyone involved in everything beyond the filming of Episode IX (J.J. Abrams has got that in hand) is ready to pick up the slack.

That why, when Abrams and co. deliver an amazing product, there’ll be no question as to Episode IX’s worth.


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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.
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