“Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?” ~ Han Solo
Less than two days after directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from LucasFilm’s Han Solo prequel, the studio has found a replacement.
Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director of A Beautiful Mind, will finish directing the Han Solo project. Hollywood Reporter broke the news, claiming that Ron Howard is now expected to calm the nerves of the cast and crew and look over a rough cut of Lord and Miller’s footage to determine which course of action to take. Principle production had 3 1/2 weeks to go when Lord and Miller were fired, and is expected to resume by July 10, 2017.
Although he started his career as a child actor, most notably on The Andy Griffith Show, Ron Howard is currently best known as the director of crowd-pleasing films like Splash, Apollo 13, and The Da Vinci Code. He has worked with LucasFilm before, directing the modestly successful (but well-remembered) fantasy epic Willow in 1988. Ron Howard also revealed on the podcast Happy Sad Confused, that he was offered a chance to direct Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace… but he turned it down (obviously).
Again, this is NOT business as usual in Hollywood. Filmmakers often leave projects, voluntarily or otherwise, before or after principle production. But firing the directors of a major blockbuster project with several weeks left to go is a very unusual move that speaks volumes about how little faith LucasFilm had in Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s directorial vision.
Replacing Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard – a filmmaker whose style is more conventional, and whose humor is typically more restrained – would also seem to indicate that LucasFilm is eager to take their Han Solo prequel in a different direction.
The Han Solo prequel (which still doesn’t have an official title) stars Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton, and is still – for now – expected to arrive in theaters on May 25, 2018.
The Top 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1990s
Top Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.