While Lucasfilm’s untitled Han Solo film might have it’s new director in the form of Ron Howard, following the departure of directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller, it appears the film and the studio might have bigger problems than creative differences.
Soon after Miller & Lord were announced as leaving the film, reports began to surface about their clashing with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the film’s script with his son Jon, over the tone of the film and Han Solo’s personality. According to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter that was just one of the issues the film faced.
In the report it states that the issues that led to Kennedy firing Lord & Miller continued all the way to the day of their firing as they reportedly didn’t start filming till 1 p.m. and at the time only used three camera setups opposed to the 12 to 15 that Kennedy expected, meaning they would capture fewer angles of the shots and not have as many options to use in editing.
From there the report moves into how there were reportedly “deep fundamental philosophical differences” in the filmmaking styles of the duo and what Kennedy/Kasdan were looking for. Lord and MIller were said to have felt they had no creative freedom and were being asked to follow the constraints of an extreme schedule where they didn’t have enough days for the scenes.
Reportedly Kennedy attempted to recreate what happened with Rogue One where Tony Gilroy was sent into to support and handle reshoots after Gareth Edward’s completed film wasn’t fitting exactly what Lucasfilm wanted, and sent Kasdan in to fill that role for Han Solo. Lord and Miller were said to not be as accepting of this move as Edwards was.
The improvisational style that Lord and Miller used on their previous films like 21 Jump Street was said to be another area where they clashed with Kennedy.
Some sources stated that it was an issue with a film this size because of all the hundreds of crewmembers that were left waiting for direction from a duo that seemed indecisive. Others said that it was a way that Lord & Miller had always worked to get the best performances out of their actors and allow the cast some creative freedom.
Issues with the film reportedly went beyond just the clashes between studio and the co-directors. When production moved from London to the Canary Island in May Lucasfilm replaced editor Chris Dickens with Pietro Scalia who is a veteran of Ridley Scott’s films.
Also they were reportedly not fully happy with the performance of their lead actor, Alden Ehrenreich so they hired and acting coach late in the production to work with him.
In the end the clashes with Kasdan, including the duo’s decision to deviate from the script which Kasdan wasn’t happy with, and Kennedy led to her getting the backing of Disney studio chief Alan Horn to fire the duo and search for a new director, which brought in Ron Howard.
According to the report Howard will take over the stalled production on June 26 and will continue filming into early September, instead of finishing in July like originally planned, to get some new material. Much of what Lord & Miller shot is said to still be usable and who gets directing credit will end up in the hands of the Director’s Guild of America.
After having two films that ran into issues between the vision of director’s and the studio, and having Josh Trank dismissed from a third unknown film before he ever started, there are many questions about if Kennedy’s beliefs that bringing in risk taking style directors may not be the best for the franchise overall. Reports of Rian Johnson’s production of Star Wars: The Last Jedi going seamlessly are good news for a studio and big franchise running into turmoil at the moment.
The Han Solo film stars 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.