By Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)
When Lucasfilm said they would shortly be revealing a new director for the Star Wars: Han Solo spinoff, they weren’t kidding. It has been less than 48 hours since the studio announced that Chris Miller and Phil Lord have been let go of the project, and we now know who will be picking up the pieces.
Variety has just reported that Ron Howard will be helming the untitled Han Solo film, which only has a few weeks left in its shooting schedule. He was one of the three names that had been floated around, along with Joe Johnston and Han Solo screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
The situation here is a bit unusual, as there is only 1/4 of the film left to shoot. Howard will be begin filming immediately, which makes me wonder how long Kennedy has been in contact with the director to bring him up to speed with what the studio expects. He might have been contacted weeks ago in order to prep him to take on the role — remember, there was a hiatus we heard about during filming, which could also explain the former directors talking to Warner Bros. about The Flash movie. That hiatus may have been when Lucasfilm were making their decisions on what to do.
In addition, this also wouldn’t be the first time Howard has directed a Lucasfilm movie, having helmed the cult classic Willow (1988).
There are 5 weeks of scheduled reshoots for Han Solo, but since Lucasfilm isn’t happy with the work that Miller and Lord did, I would bet that those reshoots will be extended far past the allotted time. Rogue One had a lengthy reshoot without losing its director (but adding Tony Gilroy in), so I would be surprised if they keep to the current reshoot schedule with Howard behind the camera.
Along with a new director, there are huge issues about who will get the credit for the film. Lord and Miller directed a very large chunk of the film despite being fired. They spent a couple of years on it, with Howard coming in as a pinch hitter. The Director’s Guild of America already hates directing duos, so the odds of Miller, Lord, and Howard getting credit are nil — but not impossible. Miller and Lord could opt to have their names taken off the film, but that means they would potentially lose millions of dollars in residuals. (Hat tip: The Hollywood Reporter)
All of this doesn’t even take into account the future of Star Wars. It is obvious Kennedy is from the old guard of Hollywood’ who expects films to be made in a very specific way. Lucasfilm seemed to be promoting up-and-coming directorial voices for their Star Wars films, but it is now very clear that that isn’t the case. It is hard to inject new blood and try out new things when the director’s hands are tied.
Having said that, Rogue One was a huge success, so you can’t say that Kennedy doesn’t know what she’s doing (she co-produced many mega hits, like Jurassic Park and E.T.). What is clear is that Star Wars’ honeymoon period is now over.