In an almost unheard of occurrence, the directors of the upcoming Han Solo spinoff, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, announced their departure from the film. That led to questions not only about the fate of the second installment of the Star Wars anthology, but how Lucasfilm might finish the film with a new director at the helm.
With only a few more weeks left of shooting, #Lucasfilm was quick on the draw, announcing Ron Howard as the new director for the Han Solo film. There have been rumors speculating Howard was the primary potential director to fill in for the remainder of filming. Now an official statement has named him captain of Solo's fate:
Lucasfilm is pleased to announce that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard has been named director of the untitled Han Solo film.
Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm added:
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty 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 the 10th of July.”
Ron Howard Hired To Direct Han Solo Star Wars Spin Off
The film was in a tight spot when Lord and Miller announced their departure just two days ago – in fact, various sources revealed that the falling out was actually more of a dismissal on Kennedy's part. With Lord and Miller's whimsical style on works such as 21 Jump Street, the directors were open for improvisation and Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan weren't having it.
Howard's previous full-length work has included the Oscar Winning film A Beautiful Mind, along with Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code, and Rush. Besides that, he's had a slew of television shows that make up the bulk of his directorial resume, noting on his early day start up with Happy Days.
Howard's ties with Lucasfilm date back to his previous work on George Lucas projects such as the 1973 film American Graffiti, which also featured Harrison Ford in an early role that seems like a prototype for Han Solo. In addition, he directed the 1988 George Lucas production Willow.
With only three weeks left of shooting, Howard is said to be meeting with the stars of the film, including Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Thandie Newton. A source with The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Howard will look over the footage left by the films' predecessors to see what can be salvaged. There are now five weeks worth of reshoots added to the schedule, while Howard doctors a rough edit of the film.
Though his ties with Lucas are something of a soothing factor, based on box office disappointments such as The Dilemma, fans may fear the outcome of this film with Howard — especially after he turned down the opportunity to direct a previous Star Wars prequel. In a podcast interview in 2015, Howard stated that he turned down Lucas' offer for him to direct a Star Wars film calling the task "too daunting." It doesn't exactly set the tone for an passionate director.
Behind the scenes, however, Star Wars execs seem to be confident in their choice, highlighting Howard's accomplishments in their official release.
In the meantime, the fate of the Han Solo film rests in Howard's sturdy hands. Whether this was the best choice, it was far from an unprecedented one. Howard's name might be enough to help the film hold its stamina, which might be exactly the kickstart that Lucasfilms is looking for to salvage the remainder of the film, set to debut May 25, 2018.