The Han Solo movie might still be untitled, but with several weeks of production and already-scheduled summer reshoots still to go, the film is now on its third director.
The film world was shaken to its core on Tuesday when it was announced that Chris Miller and Phil Lord had left the project due to “creative differences.” The uproar wasn’t even quashed when Ron Howard was announced as their replacement less than 48 hours after their departure.
We’ll probably never know the exact reasons why Chris Miller and Phil Lord left the Han Solo movie. But that hasn’t stopped numerous insiders and sources from speculating about where the film went wrong — and their informed opinions have now started to pop up in a number of publications. Here’s what we know:
Kathleen Kennedy sided with Lawrence Kasdan over Miller and Lord
One constant in all of the above speculation is that there was a huge breakdown in the relationship between Han Solo’s co-writer Lawrence Kasdan and Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Lawrence Kasdan holds huge sway over at Lucasfilm, as he wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens. Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter have each insisted that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy decided to side with Kasdan over the directing pair because of his legacy in the Star Wars universe. Kathleen Kennedy took into account the damage the prequel trilogy did to the Star Wars brand in the late 90s and early 00s, and didn’t want to risk a new approach that might wreck the rejuvenated interest created by the success of The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
Too much comedy, not enough space fantasy
Lawrence Kasdan’s main problem with Chris Miller and Phil Lord was that the Han Solo movie had turned into too much of a comedy. While Miller and Lord were brought on to add a comedic touch, they were too heavy-handed. This included allowing the actors to heavily improvise lines, which altered parts of the story. That clearly irked Lawrence Kasdan, who believed that Miller and Lord should stick strictly to the script. Despite these issues, Miller and Lord are allegedly still in shock that they were actually fired.
It was also speculated that Miller and Lord weren’t paying enough attention to the space fantasy element that both Kasdan and Kennedy believe is the main driver of Star Wars success. There was a thinly-veiled hint to this disagreement in Kathleen Kennedy’s statement announcing Ron Howard as Miller and Lord’s replacement: Kennedy insisted that Howard will be “carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago.” Then in an interview on Friday Ron Howard even recalled how he fell in love with the original film back in 1977 because he “was transported by the movie.” Which clearly underlines where his priorities lie with Han Solo.
It is believed that Ron Howard now has two weeks to get up to date and formulate a plan for the Han Solo movie before re-starting production in early July. If he can do just that, Han Solo should still be ready for its proposed release date of May 25, 2018 despite the turnaround.