Lucasfilm owns Christmas now. It’s official.
Sure, we all pretty much figured that this would be the run of things from now on. With both The Force Awakens and Rogue One dominating the festive box office, it’s unlikely that Disney’s $4 billion investment will ever give up such a coveted spot.
It’s weird, to a certain extent, that Lucasfilm keeps insisting that it’s making a slew of summer blockbusters that keep getting delayed. Episode VII, Rogue One, and Episode VIII were all originally slated for a summer release, and all fell back to December.
Can you imagine if Rogue One had actually came out on its original date? The movie was a rush job even with its Christmas release, an earlier film would have been a garbled mess!
Now, rumors are beginning to circulate that the Han Solo movie is going to be pushed back from summer to December 13 2018, and Lucasfilm are crazy to try anything else.
First off, with The Force Awakens ruling the box office through to around February, it’d be a bit silly to try and get audiences back into theaters for another Star Wars so soon afterwards.
Sure, we’ll eventually get to the point where Lucafilm is cranking these things out, Marvel style, but while they’re only managing one a year, it’s better to space out the films and not pop two movies in the same six month period.
The movie’s also going to need that little bit longer for post-production—Lucasfilm are better off doing everything they can to avoid another Rogue One situation, and as the Han Solo movie hasn’t even finished pre-production yet, they could probably do with an extra six months to make sure the film doesn’t just look like this:
But there’s another bigger reason to try and hold onto that sweet December release slot: tradition.
Christmas plays out pretty much the same every single year for most people. There’s the family gatherings, and getting into drunk arguments with racist aunts and/or uncles, or receiving the same awful presents year after year.
We thrive on traditions at Christmas—things can feel comforting even if we hate them.
This is why, whenever a big movie franchise releases on Christmas, we lap it up. We begin planning our future Christmases around the opportunity to spend two or three hours in a dark room without having to listen to the constant bickering at home.
The Lord of the Rings was such a popular Christmas franchise, launching once a year for three consecutive Christmases, that we even eagerly packed into theaters to watch all The Hobbit movies when they were released—and those were awful!
Now, we’ve had two Star Wars movies over two Christmases, and that’s the beginning of a tradition. If Lucasfilm is smart, they’ll milk that for all it’s worth, making the traditional festive space battle a classic part of Christmas is the best way to maximize ticket sales.
Not to mention all the additional Star Wars loot the company can sell if their movies are topical every single festive season.
So don’t be surprised when the Han Solo movie gets pushed back, or when Episode IX does too. But bear in mind that once Lucasfilm realizes that they’re catering specifically to a Christmassy audience, they might just start tailoring their message to capitalize on this.
Perhaps the next anthology movie will be a remake of the Star Wars Holiday Special?
It’s not like it’d be worse than the original.