The untitled Star Wars Han Solo spinoff has parted ways with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who cited “creative differences” for the split.
“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, in a statement released on the official Star Wars website.
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliche is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew,” added Lord and Miller.
Sources say Ron Howard is in talks to take over the film, but there is no deal as yet.
(Update: Lucasfilm announced on June 22 that Ron Howard is now the movie's new director.)
The film started principal photography on Feb 20 at London’s Pinewood Studios, with Alden Ehrenreich starring in the origin story about the character first made famous by Harrison Ford in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope.
Disney and Lucasfilm hired Lord and Miller – who had gained acclaim for directing The Lego Movie and the two 21 Jump Street reboot films – in July 2015. Also starring are Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams, Ian Kenny, Emilia Clarke and Joonas Suotamo.
Lord and Miller said on Feb 20 as part of the start of production announcement, “Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous. We can’t think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky.”
The Han Solo film is still in production with several weeks of re-shoots planned for the summer – which have long been planned. Disney said that the Han Solo standalone remains slated for a May 25, 2018 release date but declined to elaborate further.
The script is written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan. The story focuses on how the young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley in A New Hope. Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote other franchise entries The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, and The Force Awakens.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call in March that the movie would cover Solo’s life from when he was 18 to 24, revealing how he came to own the Millennium Falcon as well as how he met his Wookie sidekick, Chewbacca. Glover has been cast as the young Lando Calrissian, who operates in the underworld, while Harrelson is playing a criminal and mentor to Han Solo. Suotamo is playing Chewbacca.
Produced by Kennedy and Allison Shearmur, the Star Wars spinoff takes place before the events of the original movie A New Hope – similar to the time frame of the recent spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which was the first of three stand-alone Star Wars Anthology movies.
Disney and Lucasfilm are releasing Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Dec 15 this year with Rian Johnson directing from his own script in a story that will follow the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They are also in pre-production on Star Wars: Episode IX, to be directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, to be released on May 24, 2019.
Iger said in 2016 that Disney and Lucasfilm were planning on a third Star Wars Anthology stand-alone with a 2020 release date but the studio has not provided further details. – Reuters/Dave McNary
Kathleen Kennedy's statement on Ron Howard
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago.
“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 July 10.”