Phil Lord and Christopher Miller may have shot first, but in the Star Wars universe, the shot Lucasfilm takes is the only one that matters. The duo have been fired as directors of the upcoming Star Wars standalone movie about Han Solo shortly before the end of principal photography, throwing the film into uncertainty and virtually guaranteeing a summer of extensive reshoots.
While most of the Star Wars hype machine is focused on this December’s The Last Jedi, it was at least a little surprising that we had heard so little from the Han Solo movie — especially because it’s slated for release next May, instead of the usual December release that recent Star Wars films have been seeing. The movie didn’t even have a title!
Now we at least have an idea of what was going on. Loads more reports citing insiders have been pouring out since news broke that Lord and Miller had been fired, and some of those reports don’t look good for the movie. Most accounts suggest that the split was over creative differences, with Lord and Miller (both of whom are mostly known for comedies like The Lego Movie) preferring a comedic take and the studio preferring something a bit more serious. Those differences were apparently manifest from day one, but it’s only now that the studio has concluded that the differences are irreconcilable.
The short of it for us is that whatever the Han Solo movie looks like right now is probably going to be very far removed from what we ultimately see in theaters. With extensive reshoots and a tonal overhaul likely, it’s even worth wondering if the studio will make that projected May 2018 release date. Reshoots will have to accommodate the cast’s schedules, and as we’ve noted before, this is one star-studded cast.
While there was some tension behind the scenes of Rogue One, those differences were ultimately worked out, and the movie turned out pretty well. This instantly becomes a much more uncertain situation, and considering Disney has put out almost non-stop winners through their own studios, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, it’s hard to imagine they’ll let a dud into theaters. That might be why the speculation over a replacement is centered around figures like Ron Howard — known quantities virtually guaranteed to create something at an acceptable baseline of quality.
Then again, an acceptable baseline of quality isn’t exactly what Star Wars fans are hoping for from a Han Solo movie.
Unsurprisingly, Lucasfilm and Disney wasted no time finding someone else to steer the ship. Ron Howard is indeed the choice to replace Lord and Miller, and he’ll have to figure out a new direction for the movie on the fly — filming is set to resume July 10. Those extensive reshoots are almost a guarantee — an Entertainment Weekly report suggests Lord and Miller were approaching the movie as a comedy, which was at the heart of the dispute between them and Lucasfilm. If the scenes that have already been filmed reflect that, we figure most scenes will need to be overhauled.
However, EW cites other sources that say the main problem was that too much on-set improvisation caused a large departure from the script, which was co-written by Lawrence Kasdan — the guy who wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens. If that’s the case, the reshoots might not require as much time to complete.