Just two days ago, Star Wars fans were shaken to learn that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were parting ways with Lucasfilm. With production on the still-as-yet-untitled #HanSolo spinoff almost complete, the much-loved duo were flying off into the sunset. We've since learned that Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) is taking over.
Something's clearly gone badly wrong in the house that George built, and the internet's been buzzing with fury and panic — after all, Lord and Miller earned a lot of love from fans with films like The Lego Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. As the days go on, though, Lucasfilm insiders are quietly admitting that the project was a lot more troubled than we'd ever realized.
StarWarsNewsNet, one of the biggest Star Wars fan-sites out there, has gradually managed to piece together some remarkable details, including the surprising role Alden Ehrenreich (the new Han Solo) played in the behind-the-scenes drama.
Alden Ehrenreich Had A Bad Feeling About This
A skilled actor who made his movie debut with 2009's Tetro, Ehrenreich is an up-and-coming talent who's managed to snag one of the most exciting roles of all. He was actually the first to audition for the part of young Han Solo, and ran through six months' worth of auditions before finally being cast. His performance has been described as fresh and original, while still honoring the essentials of the character.
By all accounts, nobody at Lucasfilm has any doubt that he's the perfect man to bring the young Han Solo to life, and there have even apparently been rumblings that Lucasfilm may plan a Han Solo sequel in which Ehrenreich reprises the role.
Here's the catch, though. According to StarWarsNewsNet, as production went on, Ehrenreich felt increasingly uncomfortable. Lord and Miller were pushing a Star Wars film unlike any other, with a strong element of screwball comedy. One Lucasfilm insider actually compared it to Jim Carrey's performance in Ace Ventura, and something about it just wasn't sitting comfortably with Ehrenreich, StarWarsNewsNet reports.
Finally, he had enough. Ehrenreich raised his concerns with one of the film's producers, who let Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy know about it; in light of Ehrenreich's concerns, Kennedy decided to review the existing footage, according to the report.
A Film With Serious Problems
For months now, we've been hearing positive news about the Han Solo spinoff. Insiders who watched individual scenes came away delighted; that's why fans were initially dismissive when rumors of "creative conflict" began to circulate online. It was only when all the scenes were put together, though, that Kathleen Kennedy realized that something just wasn't working, StarWarsNewsNet's sources say. The film wasn't faithful to Lawrence Kasdan's original script, with a high degree of improv and a zany tone that just didn't seem to fit the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Intriguingly, one insider told StarWarsNewsNet that there was even a continuity error that would have driven the fans wild, and Lord and Miller wouldn't budge on it.
Lucasfilm seems to have called a hiatus on production — for a couple weeks while Ron Howard gets up to speed, Entertainment Weekly reports — and the company will have to order extensive reshoots. Whereas Gareth Edwards was willing to cooperate with Rogue One, Lord and Miller insisted on their own creative control. It's presumably at this point that Lord tweeted:
By all accounts, Lucasfilm gave Lord and Miller an ultimatum — our way or the highway — and the duo wanted to do the film their way. "They thought they were brought on to make a Phil and Chris movie," a source close to the directors told EW, adding that they don't feel any anger at Ron Howard: "Somebody has to take over the movie."
In an ironic touch, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who encouraged Lucasfilm to hire the duo in the first place, reportedly pushed hard for their dismissal.
The last two days have seen fans rage and fume. There's been a lot of blame to go around. Is this unfortunate situation the result of "dinosaurs" like Kennedy and Kasdan, as some fans claim? Or should Miller and Lord have been more willing to compromise? The truth is likely a lot more nuanced than we'd like to admit; when something goes wrong on this scale, it usually means everybody messed up somewhere.
The one man who shines in all of this, though, is Alden Ehrenreich, an actor who's clearly committed to his role, and who dared to speak up when he felt the character was being dishonored. He's definitely got the bravery of Han Solo!