Ron Howard Discusses STAR WARS Trolling and How it Hurt His SOLO Movie
I am a huge fan of director Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. While the movie made a good amount of money at the box office, it wasn’t the kind of big money that Lucasfilm and Disney were hoping for. It’s a bummer, because it really was a great movie, but audiences just weren’t willing to give it a chance.
During a recent interview with Happy Sad Confused podcast, Howard talked about the film and how it’s something he’s very proud of, but at the same time disappointed that it didn’t do as well as it could have. He mentions that he believes Star Wars trolling did have something to do with that.
“I feel very good about the way it turned out. I love the way it played to audiences, which I witnessed and was a part of. So all of that I'm able to feel good about. Sure, I wish it would've done [better] and lived up to the box office and so forth, so that's disappointing. Why? Maybe it's the release. Maybe it's the idea that it's sort of too nostalgic, going back and revisiting an origin story for a beloved character may not be what the fans were looking for. It kind of seemed to me, looking at it, the opening -- which was big, not as big as the others, it was probably my biggest opening, personally, it was still disappointing to them -- I think those are the hardcore fans. It sort of tells you how many people are tagalongs who need to wait to see what people think and whether it's essential, if it's a zeitgeist movie or not, and whether it's just 'I love Star Wars and I want to see what's next.'“
He then gets into the trolling aspect of things. Trolling from Star Wars haters that didn’t even go out and see the movie. It’s those kinds of things that may have led the “tagalong” types of fans to pass on seeing Solo in the theater:
“So whatever millions [Solo] made worldwide, those were the core fans, but it didn't hit that zeitgeist point, for whatever reason. Timing, young Han Solo, pushback from the previous movie, which I kept hearing was maybe something. And some trolling, definitely some trolling. Some actual aggressive... It was pretty interesting. Not so much, a little bit the Twitter feed, yes, but it was especially noticeable prior to the release of the movie. Several of the algorithms, whether it was Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, there was an inordinate push down on the 'want to see' and on the fan voting. And when you look at it, it's like 3, 4, 5 -- or whatever the rating is, I forget what the rating is on Rotten Tomatoes, whether it's a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 -- but pretty high, and then a series of 0s or .5s or 1s.”
It’s sad that this is how things played out for Solo. There’s a lot of hard work that went into the making of this film, hard work from a creative team that delivered a hell of an awesome movie! But, instead of supporting and respecting the work of these people bringing us new stories from our favorite franchise, toxic fans attacked it with the intent of hurting it. But, Howard didn’t take it personally:
“Under that circumstance, I didn't take it personally at all, but I felt badly. And I thought Alden didn't a really great job, an incredibly talented guy, and dedicated guy, and I had a blast with everybody. And look, a year later, it's kind of interesting, you wouldn't think you'd participate in a Star Wars project and have it be a cult movie, but I can already tell those who have affection for it are pretty adamant in their feelings, and that's nice.”
Ron Howard’s optimism and looking on the bright side of things is one of the reason why I love him as a filmmaker so much. But, in the end, even though the film was set up for an exciting sequel, that sequel will most likely never happen, and that’s a shame.
Disney and Lucasfilm caved in to the Star Wars trolls and now, unfortunately for the hardcore fans like myself, we won’t be getting as many Star Wars as we were hoping for. I know some people are happy with the outcome, but I was one of the fans excited to see lots of cool Star Wars movies.