Pick and Choose


Solo: A Star Wars Story came out recently, and it hasn’t been doing all that well at the box office. I confess, the film hold zero interest for me even though friends of mine have seen it and thought it was a fun ride. This has got me thinking about why I have no desire to see this film in the theatre.

With the Advent of the MCU 1, every franchise on the planet seems to be trying to create a massive cinematic universe. Some have crashed and burned 2, but others have managed to gain some traction. The Wizarding World has gained some steam with the Fantastic Beasts film, and The DCEU 3 keeps plugging along 4. Star Wars, which predates every moving picture connected universe except for Star Trek, seems poised to be the next great connected cinematic reality. It may very well be just that, but the slice of the connected world pie is shrinking. This means an increased number of Star Wars films might earn more money for the franchise over all, but each film will earn less of a percentage of that total.

Which brings me to comic books.

When I was a kid 5 comic books fascinated me, and one day I decided to take some of my hard earned money and buy some of these portals into other worlds. My first two purchases were an issue of the X-Men and The Amazing Spider Man, which led me into the realm of Marvel Comics. I knew there was a whole other universe of super heroes out there, with characters as compelling as those in which I’d invested 6, but just didn’t have the funds to pay for access to them. I had to choose a comic universe, and stick with it, as a matter of economic necessity. Even in my teens, when work money allowed me a bit more flexibility in my comic habit, I stuck with Marvel. I would dabble in Batman on occasion, but by that point Marvel was familiar to me and I didn’t feel the need to venture elsewhere. I think something similar may be happening with all these shared universe franchises we’re now seeing on screen. On any given year I’ll see probably see six films in the theatre, and even that’s stretching my mental allocation for theatre trips. I’m invested in the MCU because I like the characters and the different genres they’ve managed to use in that shared universe. This limits what else I can see.

Let me put this in comic collecting terms. If I’m an MCU collector, their three titles are my automatic pick ups, all my casual collecting has to fit into those remaining three slots. Artsy films, other shared universe films, or just cool theatrical experiences all have to be distilled into that space. In practical terms I have neither the time nor the budget to buy into another grand, multiple films a year, shared universe. Star Wars once a year was an event, and I liked that. Star Wars every few months is more than I’m willing to invest.

And I think this is what’s happened to Solo, which by all accounts is a good film. People are picking and choosing which universe they’re going to collect, and Disney wasn’t prepared for people being all that choosy. They expected Star Wars to equal automatic big summer box office receipts, but people aren’t collecting this new “every few months” Star Wars product just yet. They may in the future 7, but they aren’t right now.

The shared universe profit pie just isn’t as big as Disney thought it was.

  1. Marvel Cinematic Universe. 
  2. Cough, Dark Universe, Cough. 
  3. DC Extended Universe. 
  4. Why this is, I don’t know. 
  5. In terms of chronology, not mental mind-set. 
  6. I mean, come on, DC has Batman
  7. Perhaps if Star Wars can stop concentrating on re-treads, and do something new, they will buy in. 


  1. Jamison says:

    Good thoughts. Though I think some of it is also the difference in Star Wars fanbases. It feels like the Star Wars fanbase is still stuck in the world of their youth where everything is immortalized in a perfect trilogy of films that can never be topped. I think it’s most evident with the latest movies. Force Awakens got rave reviews, when in reality all it was, was a re-hash of A New Hope. Then when people tried to do something different or be something different (Kelly Tran) they got trashed. Star Wars is probably just too much of a sacred cow to really be able to become a cinematic universe like MCU, DCEU etc.,.

    1. wezlo says:

      Yah, I’m not sure. If they went off and did something new.. they’d be fine. They have an established universe… a literal galaxy… but they keep playing in the same sandbox. Just… do something new. The Last Jedi wasn’t something new, it was something old which went out of it’s way to say, “And now we’ll twist this archetype out of shape just to show you how new we’re being.” Over and over.

      Funny thing is, it worked for Luke. I love what they did with his character. It also worked for Kylo Ren, who is a great villain.

      But the rest of the storyline was so weak it couldn’t support all those twists without looking contrived. They really needed a time jump between the two films, and were constrained by its absence.

    2. Jamison says:

      They’ve done that to themselves though. They completely boxed themselves in with the Skywalker family and can’t get out of it now. I kinda feel like they can’t do anything new without it being an anathema to the fanbase.

    3. wezlo says:

      Perhaps, though they have a chance to end the saga in episode 9…

  2. Mandy Park says:

    I really enjoyed Rogue One, so I do want to see Solo, but we didn’t rush to try to find a babysitter either, which tells you something. I think the new Star Wars franchise lost my interest with the TLJ. If they couldn’t come up with anything new on their own, there was an entire extended universe of stories they could have ripped off–and I can only tolerate so much contrived plotting riddled with holes.

    1. wezlo says:

      I enjoyed Rogue One too, and it was a once a year Star Wars event so it fit into my movie budget. I’ll see Solo as well, but at home.

  3. I’ve not seen TLJ. I just don’t care. Like you all said, Force Awakens just felt like New Hope 2.0. ANOTHER death star? Really? the baddies can’t think of ANYTHING else that hurts people? And the fact that Disney proclaimed all those years of Lucas-approved fiction to no longer be canon didn’t do any favors with fans or universe development, either.

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