It’s Official: Ron Howard will take over directing the Han Solo project

The front runner of the choice of directors to take over from Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the untitled young Han Solo film has been confirmed by Lucasfilm. The announcement came in a press release on StarWars.com:

Lucasfilm is pleased to announce that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard has been named director of the untitled Han Solo film.

“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.”

Howard has made some of the biggest hits and most critically-acclaimed movies of the modern era. Among his many films are Lucasfilm’s Willow, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind (winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director), The Da Vinci CodeFrost/Nixon, and Rush. He also narrated and produced the beloved comedy series Arrested Development, starred in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, and remains a TV icon for his roles in The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days.

The untitled Han Solo film is slated for a May 25, 2018, release.

They still have about 3 weeks or so of production where Howard will have to review footage they already have and make the tough choices of what to keep and what to re-shoot, for which another 5 weeks have been scheduled. There could be some clashes in the future that the production will have to keep in mind with Emilia Clarke likely to return to filming for Game of Thrones (provided she doesn’t die in season 7) and Donald Glover to shoot Atlanta season 2 soon.

What will this mean for the film? Good question. Ron Howard is a safe choice and he will produce the best movie he can. He is a competent director who has work on a few average films in the last little while, the best recent film he has directed was Rush so we’ll see how we go. I can give you a proper answer in May next year.

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Phil Lord and Chris Miller fired from Han Solo anthology film

I didn’t write about this when the announcement was made because there wasn’t all that much information. Now we have a report from Variety that sheds more light on the situation.

Yesterday, Lucasfilm announced that 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller had exited the untitled Han Solo production citing creative differences. Lord and Miller had also released a very co-operative statement. The film has been in principle photography since January this year.

Variety talked to an unknown source with knowledge of the production who said that the chemistry between the directors and Lucasfilm boss, Kathleen Kennedy was never right. The source went on to say that Lord and Miller also clashed with co-writer Lawrence Kasdan who has been heavily involved in Star Wars since Empire Strikes Back.

“Kathy, her team and Larry Kasdan have been doing it their way for a very long time. They know how the cheese is made and that’s how they want it made,” said the source. “It became a very polarising set.”

Kathleen Kennedy in her announcement stated that a new director will be announced shortly. There have been reports from Variety again and Deadline saying the Ron Howard may be the front running candidate for that new director spot.

Ron Howard would no doubt work well with Kennedy, Kasdan and Lucasfilm, he would tow the line and work well with the studio. However, Lord and Miller were hired for their comedic chops and it’d be interesting to see how what they have filmed will blend in with Howard’s product. Let’s also point out that Gareth Edwards suffered similar clashes with Kennedy during production of Rogue One – A Star Wars Story. Tony Gilroy was brought in to direct some of the re-shoots for that film.

I’m not concerned (yet) about these recent developments because of the issues that went down with Rogue One, and the film still ended up being an enjoyable Star Wars movie. I’ll be watching the developments of this production very closely.

The still untitled young Han Solo film is still slated for a May 25, 2018, release date. We will most likely see or hear updates from the upcoming D23 convention and/or Comic Con.