I thought one of the greatest things that Lucasfilm did after Disney acquired the company was hiring Chris Miller and Phil Lord to direct the Star Wars spinoff that centered around a young Han Solo. The directors have proven time and time again that they have keen instincts, and may be poised to craft a unique career.
Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to be enough for Lucasfilm. The studio has just announced that they’re parting ways with the directors, via The Hollywood Reporter. Here’s what Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement:
“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon.”
I’m pretty shocked by this, to be honest. There were no hints that anything was wrong on the production, which is just weeks away from wrapping up. Lord and Miller released a statement as well:
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences,’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”
It’s pretty late in the game to change directors. Shooting on the Han Solo film began in February, and still has a few weeks left in the production schedule. From the sound of it, it seems that Lucasfilm has already hired a replacement director to finish off production, and who will be in charge of the reshoots scheduled for later this summer. But they’re keeping that name under wraps for the time being.
Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One went through extensive reshoots and Lucasfilm kept him on as director, so it’s unclear exactly how long the reshoot on Han Solo will be. My best guess is that it will possibly be much longer than the Rogue One additional photography, but it depends on what can be salvaged in the editing room.
It’s starting to look like Lucasfilm is having a much harder time with directors than even Marvel had in the beginning. With the exception of J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, the studio has been having serious issues with them. Edwards was practically sidelined with Tony Gilroy overseeing the Rogue One reshoots, Josh Trank either left his project (which was assumed to be a Boba Fett film) or was forced out, and now Chris Miller and Phil Lord have left Han Solo. It seems the anthology films are causing some growing pains for the studio.
The only thing that keeps me hopeful that this film will still end up being fantastic is that Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay. Marvel faced a somewhat similar issue when Edgar Wright left Ant-Man, but Peyton Reed still delivered an excellent film (it hadn’t begun filming). Ultimately, we may never know what Miller and Lord’s vision would have been but it doesn’t mean we won’t get an excellent Han Solo film. However, there are worrying developments in the fallout, including that this was more of a firing than a parting of ways — stay tuned for more.
The untitled Star Wars: Han Solo film is still set to premiere on May 25, 2018.