A day after Lucasfilm fired co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the still-untitled Han Solo movie, the company has announced that Ron Howard will complete the filming. As reported yesterday, the pair had repeatedly butted heads with both Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and script co-writer Lawrence Kasdan. Multiple reports cited Kasdan as being unhappy with the duo’s portrayal of the young Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich) as a “comedic figure.”
In a press release on the official Star Wars website, Lucasfilm announced the hiring of Ron Howard;
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “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. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”
The iconic actor/director is no stranger to working with Lucasfilm. He directed Willow for the studio in 1988. In addition to over 40 director credits to his name, the Oscar-winning Howard’s connections to George Lucas go back even further with his starring role in the filmmaker’s American Graffiti.
Sources report that Howard will soon meet with the cast and crew in order to settle any nervousness. He will also view a rough cut of the film so far. There are still three-and-a-half weeks remaining in principle photography. As mentioned in the press release, the filming with pick up again beginning on July 10, meaning that it would theoretically wrap up around the second week of August. And, typical of blockbusters, another five weeks are scheduled for any re-shoots.
While it would be tempting to try and divine the fate or quality of this film based on any additional filming beyond that, it should be remembered that the previous Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One, also went through extended re-shoots. It was released to critical and fan acclaim – and box office success. Disney remains committed to a May 25, 2018 release date.
For those who follow Hollywood, one business-related hurdle remains. The Directors Guild of America is typically reluctant to allow three director credits on a film. But, if Lord and Miller’s names are removed, they will lose out on the considerable residuals on the profits this blockbuster is expected to create.