If the numerous reports coming out about Han Solo's solo adventure have indicated anything, it's that the production's not going well behind the scenes. We know about the heavy creative differences, the tension on set, firing of crew members and even struggles with the cast. This troubling snowball started rolling downhill when #Lucasfilm and #Disney replaced Phil Lord and Chris Miller as directors of the film.
That significant shift came from creative differences between the directing duo, and #HanSolo's co-writer and producer, Lawrence Kasdan. Kasdan was reportedly adamant about sticking to the script, whereas Lord and Miller's loose improvisational style clashed with what Lucasfilm ultimately wanted to accomplish with the movie.
Once the directors were gone, the process to find another helmer began. Kasdan himself couldn't be the one to sit on the comfy director's chair due to the Director's Guild of America's 'Eastwood Rule': It prohibits an actor or producer from firing the director of a film, and then becoming the director themselves.
In case you're wondering, that's named after #ClintEastwood, who in the '70s fired Philip Kaufman as the director for The Outlaw Josey Wales over creative differences and then became the director himself. With that obstacle in place, Lucasfilm and Disney began searching for a new helmer. In a smart PR move, the studio chose Ron Howard.
That seemed to be the end of Lord and Miller's involvement with the #StarWars universe, but then something else popped up. TheWrap discovered a loophole in the DGA rule book, one that might enable them to finish the movie that they wanted to make in the first place.
Here's how it could work.
Another Shot At The Director's Chair?
The DGA's rules cited state that if a director is replaced after helming 90% of a film, said director can come back to the project and be entitled to full creative post-production rights:
"A director who is replaced after directing ninety percent (90 percent) but less than one hundred percent (100 percent) of the scheduled principal photography of any motion picture shall be the Director of the film entitled to all the post-production creative rights set forth."
While that's promising, the possibility of Lord and Miller coming back to finish their version of the movie has some considerable hurdles. First, how do you determine what 90% of a finished film is, especially in an era where reshoots and pickups and scenes rendered entirely in CGI are created in post? It's hard to say.
The directors were in charge of the first four months of filming the reported five-month shoot. That's a small part of the overall movie-making journey when we take into account the lengthy post-production process, especially for a tentpole movie like this with heavy special effects. That's on top of the modifications Howard will surely make while working on the film.
Total Creative Freedom
Still, if Lord & Miller were to apply for this, and they could indeed work on a director's cut for our favorite nerf-herder, the duo could do their thing without any sort of studio interference. According to the rules, no one would be able to meddle with the process at that stage:
"No one shall be allowed to interfere with the director of the film during the period of the Director’s Cut. There shall be no 'cutting behind' the Director as that term is commonly understood in the motion picture industry."
All Of That Sounds Great... But Again, Is A Director's Cut Feasible?
Short answer: Not really. Even if #ChrisMiller and #PhilLord manage to qualify as the rightful directors of the movie, and they're given a version of it no other souls but theirs can modify, the rules state the studio doesn't actually have any obligation to distribute it. So they could in theory make it, but they'd have to find their own way to distribute it. And while that's certainly possible, it's not probable.
Now, it's worth noting that there have been instances where a director's been allowed to complete a cut of the movie without meeting that 90% required, and said film's been distributed by the studio. In the late '70s, for example, #RichardDonner was replaced at the last minute as director for Superman II by Richard Lester. At the time, Donner had directed 70% of the sequel, but in the early 2000s, Warner Bros. allowed him to cut his own version of the movie.
Unfortunately, it's unlikely that scenario could apply to the Han Solo movie because the circumstances are quite different. Donner's firing was infamously unfair, and the public were fully aware of that. This time around, Lord and Miller's firing was simply due to their creative visions clashing with Lucasfilm and Disney, which in itself isn't a bad thing.
Overall, there are too many obstacles for Lord and Miller to get a shot at their own version of the movie. For all intents and purposes, this will be Ron Howard's adventure. Let's just hope that all the setbacks and struggles don't stand in the way of us getting an awesome film. The Han Solo film will hopefully still fly into theaters on May 25, 2018.
Would you like a director's cut of Han Solo from Phil Lord and Chris Miller? Do you think Ron Howard's version will be good? Let me know in the comments!