Ron Howard is reportedly the top choice to take over the director’s chores on Disney’s untitled Han Solo Star Wars spin-off film, according to Deadline.
Originally, The Lego Movie co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were helming the project, but it was announced yesterday that the pair had left the project midway through principal photography. Although statements from both the directors and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy painted the split as mutual and amicable, New reporting this morning is suggesting that it might not have been.
According to the Hollywood Reporter –
[T]he style and vision of Lord and Miller clashed with that of Lawrence Kasdan, the legendary screenwriter behind the classics Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, who also wrote, with his son, Jon Kasdan, the script for the Han Solo stand-alone set (for now) to be released in 2018.
Lord and Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) have a comedic sensibility and improvisational style while Kasdan favors a strict adherence to the written word — what is on the page is what must be shot.
The Reporter goes on to state that Lord and Miller thought they could work through the differences and were “blindsided” by their firing.
The friction was felt almost immediately when the movie began shooting in February, sources say, but the directors always thought it could be worked through. Kennedy, the producer and head of Lucasfilm, decided to back her lifelong colleague, who shaped much of Solo’s character in Empire and Return of the Jedi and who had a specific tone in mind for the new movie. The duo also didn’t feel they had the support of producer Allison Shearmur, who was acting as Lucasfilm’s representative on the London set.
An unfortunate turn of events. Having enjoyed their past work, I was looking forward to seeing how Lord and Miller’s sensibilities merged with the Star Wars world. Apparently, not too well, at least behind the scenes.
I suppose some birth pangs should be expected as Disney and Kids still expand the franchise out with these spin-off films. But the appeal 9f doing these films is that the Star Wars galaxy is big enough to tell a number of different types of stories. Rogue One was a much grimmer war film than any of the main saga films have been. Why can’t the pendulum swing back the other way and let a Han Solo film be a bit more comedic than what we’ve seen before? The original Star Trek TV series managed such tonal shifts over its run with ease, so it can be done.
Howard is a perfectly good journeyman director, though I find that he has no real discernible style that marks his films. I am sure that he will turn in a perfectly good film and it will be exactly what Kennedy wants. But I feel we have lost something that could have been so much more.