As recently as a decade ago, the idea of yearly Star Wars films might have set fans' hearts ablaze. But now, less than three full years into Disney-era Lucasfilm, that prospect is a nagging, seemingly endless taunt for some corners of fandom. The middling box office receipts for Solo: A Star Wars Story -- which made $103 million domestically, though it was initially projected to make $150 million -- show that moviegoers might be growing tired of the galaxy far, far away.
After Disney's propulsive first entry, The Force Awakens, which continued the Skywalker storyline as Episode VII, things were looking on the up for the franchise. Kathleen Kennedy, who took over as president of Lucasfilm after George Lucas stepped down, had a mega-hit on her hands, a record-breaking behemoth that united the internet in satiated glee. Rogue One -- the first live-action standalone in Star Wars history -- was similarly beloved and financially successful.
But the polarizing response to Episode VIII, The Last Jedi, sent a shockwave through the world of Star Wars fandom. Suddenly, Star Wars wasn't such a safe space. The film demanded a different kind of viewing experience than fans were accustomed to, and thus fractured the familiar, comforting world they'd occupied for so long. Love or hate The Last Jedi, it's hard to deny that the divisive reactions didn't poison the waters of Star Wars fandom -- perhaps permanently.