'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Likely to Drop First Ad During Super Bowl

The marketing campaign for Solo: A Star Wars Story is widely expected to kickoff during Super Bowl LII upon the release of the first ad for the summer 2018 tentpole, according to industry insiders.

If so, Sunday's big game will end chatter as to why Disney and Lucasfilm have waited to drop any materials for the standalone Star Wars movie, which opens in theaters four months from now on May 25. Lucasfilm and Disney have insisted since Ron Howard took over directing duties in June 2017 that Solo — an origin story starring Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo — would still be able to meet its release date, but that hasn't stopped speculation to the contrary. 

On Thursday, speculation began to swirl that the Super Bowl spot would be used to tease a full trailer launch on Monday's Good Morning America. Howard even got in on the fun, retweeting a fan account that responded to a previous tweet from Howard asking who would win the Super Bowl. "Who cares I’m going to be watching GMA Monday. Need my rest," read the tweet Howard retweeted.

Disney declined to comment regarding its Super Bowl plans. Hollywood marketing experts say Disney may have held off touting Solo until Star Wars: The Last Jedi, debuting in mid-December, was largely done with its run in theaters.

Disney isn't alone in keeping mum. Other studios shelling out big bucks to plug their upcoming movies during the showdown in Minneapolis between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles likewise declined comment.

The football championship, carried on NBC this time out, remains the most watched television event of the year. Hollywood studios are hence willing to pony up $5 million for a 30-second spot, although three major studios — Fox, Sony and Warner Bros. — are sitting out the 2018 game entirely. In the age of the Internet and social media, film companies can often have just as much of a reach without incurring a major expense like the Super Bowl.

Still, Super Bowl ads have become almost as iconic as the game itself.

Universal, a sister company of NBC, will air ads for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22), as well as a spot for Dwayne Johnson's upcoming action pic Skyscraper (July 13). Another summer event movie expected to take to the field during Sunday's contest is Paramount's Mission: Impossible — Follout (July 27), starring Tom Cruise.

Most Super Bowl movie spots are 30 seconds to 45 seconds, or 60 seconds. One exception will be Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which insiders say runs 90 seconds. Streaming services Amazon Studios and Netflix are also expected to have a Super Bowl presence. Amazon will advertise its upcoming series Jack Ryan, while Netflix is rumored to be mulling an ad for Cloverfield sequel God's Particle, which it is taking over from Paramount.

Solo: A Star Wars Story isn't the only movie Disney will be plugging. The studio is expected to advertise two other titles; likely contenders are Black Panther (Feb. 16), Avengers: Infinity War (May 4) — both from Marvel Studios — or a Wrinkle in Time (March 9).

A week later, Black Panther is likewise expected to be a launching pad for high-profile trailers. Fox, for example, is expected to premiere a trailer for Ryan Reynold's Deadpool 2 before Black Panther, which could also be used for Solo. The Winter Olympics, which get underway Feb. 9, is another obvious launching pad.

Feb. 1, 4:56 p.m. Updated with Howard's retweet.

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