Following Chris Miller & Phil Lord’s departure from directing Lucasfilm’s untitled Han Solo film, three names are now being floated around as possible replacements to finish the already well into production film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ron Howard and Joe Johnston are both possible contenders for the recently vacated director’s chair. Both are directing veterans that have experience with Lucasfilm or it’s parent company Disney as Howard directed Willow and Johnston handled the Disney/Marvel Studios Captain America: The First Avenger.
Another candidate that is rumored for the spot is Lawrence Kasdan who co-wrote the Han Solo script with his son and has a long association with Lucasfilm through Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Kasdan previous directing credits include The Big Chill and Silverado, but might be a long shot choice as Directors Guild of America rules prevent someone already working on a film from stepping up to replace a director except for in short-term emergency situations.
Reportedly whoever the new director is they will take a few weeks to go over what was already shot for the film, since production began back in February, and possibly re-edit some of the footage before moving forward. Lucasfilm was adamant in the release about Lord & Miller’s departure that they will stick to the May 2018 release date of the film.
The THR article also detailed reports from within the production that the creative differences that led to Lord and Miller being removed from the film stemmed from their comedic and improve style clashing with Kasdan’s ideas that what is in the script pages is what should be filmed. It also reportedly came down to a difference of opinion on Han Solo’s personality as a whole as the duo wanted a more comedic take but the studio felt his personality should be more “sarcastic and selfish.”
Reportedly the friction between the directors and the studios was noticeable as soon as shooting began in February, but there had been hope that it could be worked out as time went on. Having worked with Kasdan for a long time, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy reportedly sided with the writer over the directors in these matters.
The recent hiatus in shooting was one that was said to be used to clear the air, but instead led to the release of the directors and a move to bring in someone else to take over.
This is not the first time of course that Lucasfilm has dealt with something similar.
Last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had a similar situation when the studio brought in writer Tony Gilroy to reshoot the third act of the film that director Gareth Edwards had already finished. Reportedly the changes were to make the third act smaller in scope and more personal.
While the change had fans worried, the finished product was a hit at the box office, critics and fans alike. Time will tell if the same will be true with the Han Solo film, though it already has an uphill battle because of the fact that many fans are unsure if it’s even a spinoff film they wanted.
The Han Solo film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Joonas Suotamo picking up the role of Chewbacca, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
The film is still slated for it’s May 25, 2018 release date.