Just days ago, it looked like the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff movie was in serious trouble after Disney fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller with just eight weeks of filming remaining. But in a major coup, the studio has brought in one of today’s most acclaimed directors to finish the job.
Oscar-winner Ron Howard, director of films such as Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and The DaVinci Code, has come onboard as Han Solo‘s new director. Howard is planning on meeting with the film’s cast and viewing a rough cut of the movie before deciding what needs to be done when filming resumes on July 10. “At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago,” Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie.”
Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm
Lord and Miller had completed nearly five months of filming before being let go, putting Disney in a rough spot to finish the film in time for its scheduled May 25, 2018 release. The pair of directors, known for their loose comedic tone in films like The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, apparently clashed creatively with the chiefs at Lucasfilm, especially Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. Kasdan allegedly felt the duo didn’t understand the character of Han Solo and were making him too comedic, while both he and Kennedy felt the movie they were making didn’t feel like a Star Wars movie.
This is very similar to the situation that happened on Rogue One, where director Gareth Edwards tried to make something different and Lucasfilm stepped in to “Star Wars” up the film. They did this by hiring the film’s co-writer, Tony Gilroy, to direct extensive reshoots, something Edwards didn’t fight them on. The result ended up being a very well-reviewed film that made over a billion dollars, so it seems like Lucasfilm knows what they’re doing. Be that as it may, when they attempted to do something similar with Lord and Miller, the pair refused to let another director tinker with their work, and they lost their jobs because of it.
It remains to be seen if the film will finish shooting on time. Howard is as professional as they come, and if anyone can complete the movie on time, it’s him, but at the same time, I don’t think anyone wants this movie to be rushed. If they do end up missing the May release date, then there’s always Christmas. I mean, who doesn’t love Star Wars for Christmas?