Han Solo Switches Directors

Whoa. Now that was unexpected.

In a surprise move this week, Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the Han Solo spinoff movie, citing creative differences as the primary motivator. Lord and Miller, who previously directed 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, were reportedly approaching the film in a loose, improvisational comedic style, while Han Solo producers were wanting them to strictly follow what was on the script page.

In short, the “creative differences” were that Lord and Miller wanted to be creative, whereas Lucasfilm didn’t want them to be.

Yesterday, their replacement was announced as Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, most known for films such as Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon, and A Beautiful Mind. Howard is to oversee the remaining four weeks of filming with an additional five weeks of reshoots.

“I’m beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since [1977],” Howard tweeted. “I hope to honor the great work already done and help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.”

SOURCE: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Few things to note here. First of all, I have uncompromising support in Ron Howard and his abilities to direct Han Solo. From Night Shift all the way to Rush, Howard has been a mostly consistent filmmaker with expertise on directing both actors and on-set production. To me, Ron Howard directing a Star Wars movie is the stuff of dreams, and I’m very excited to see where exactly this will lead for both the franchise and Howard alike.

That being said, with how viciously things ended between Lord, Miller, and the film’s producers, I am concerned with how much influence the studio has over Han Solo and how that might affect production. Studio interference has been a major problem in Hollywood for a long time now, from Alien 3 all the way to the most recent Fantastic Four. When filmmakers have this sharp of a disagreement on their properties, that doesn’t usually spell out a good sign for the production overall.

Also, it’s especially strange that they just now decided to fire Lord and Miller when they’ve been working on the film for five months. There’s been other productions in the past where they’ve changed out actors, writers, cinematographers, even composers in the middle of filming. But switching out directors halfway through production is extremely uncommon. With Lucasfilm making that decision almost near the film’s completion tells me that they never had a grounded conversation with Lord and Miller on where exactly they intended to take Han Solo. And if the producers don’t have a clear idea of what their film is supposed to be, then usually no one does.

What do you think? Do you think the director switch is a good thing for Han Solo, or should Lucasfilm have kept on Lord and Miller? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, StarWars.com

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