May 4th came and went this year with notably less Star Wars fanfare than we’ve come to expect since 2013. Absent were the Disney store offers or Solo teaser drops, and on a personal level it came up just once in a muted office conversation. As far as I can tell the only significant Star Wars related event yesterday was that tickets for Solo were finally on pre-sale.
It’s understandable. Even on its own terms, this May 4th was always going to be difficult for Star Wars. Disney has lost control of the narrative to the extent that The Last Jedi is now accepted as a problematic – at least – entry to the saga, while the box office drop speaks for itself. May 4th is obstinately an event “for the fans”, yet Disney knows that widespread fan disenfranchisement is a huge obstacle for promoting Solo. Why would they risk giving the fans a voice just weeks before the new movie hits?
These factors alone would be enough to dampen any Star Wars Day celebrations. Yet unfortunately for Lucasfilm, that’s only half their problem.
41 years ago Star Wars may have written the rules for summer blockbuster event movies. Yet this year, Infinity War became the crown jewel in a new beast of fully-armed and operational cinematic universe.