Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Han Solo prequel starring Alden Ehrenreich as the titular smuggler, hit theaters in May of 2018. Suffice to say, it didn't pull in the box office numbers that Disney was hoping for. The movie dramatically underperformed and what's more, was met with a lukewarm reaction by many fans and critics.
Star Wars films have traditionally been released in the month of May, as was the case with the franchise's first six movies. When Disney took over the franchise, they shifted to a primarily Winter-based release schedule, choosing to release all three installments of the Skywalker Saga's sequel trilogy and Rogue One in December.
Now, we have learned from the 'Art Of' book for The Rise of Skywalker (via Screenrant ) that Solo's May 2018 release was meant to herald a shift in the time of year in which future Star Wars films arrived in theaters. An excerpt from the book reads, "Solo: A Star Wars Story had been intended to be the first of many Star Wars films to return to the franchise's traditional late-May release date,"
WHAT THIS MEANS
One can surmise that since Solo: A Star Wars Story more or less bombed at the box office, Disney became apprehensive about moving Star Wars back to its long-held May release month. Had the film been a big success, things may have gone differently.
It is also worth noting that May is typically a month that is associated with another Disney property, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whose films have been speedily crossing the billion dollar mark lately. Perhaps part of this cancelled release date shuffle was due to the fact that Disney did not want to cannibalize its own audience by forcing it to compete with a juggernaut Marvel Studios release.