A new article on Solo from the Wall Street Journal mostly treads well-worn ground on the film’s behind-the-scenes director switcharoo, but it does have one new, interesting (if unconfirmed) detail: That Ron Howard reshot 70% of the film.
No coverage of Solo: A Star Wars Story would be complete without asking on the film’s turmoulous director issues, and Entertainment Weekly does go there, with the usual vague and polite responses from Kathleen Kennedy and Ron Howard on the issue of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Another report on Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Han Solo exit has come out this morning from The Hollywood Reporter. It details an even more strained situation than the previous articles, with editor replacements, a late hiring of an acting coach, and overall strain on set.
“It’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “A new director will be announced soon.” It’s apparently keeping the May 2018 release date, at least for the time being.
This is all very unusual, and I haven’t the slightest idea what to think. (Word is there’s still three more weeks of shooting.) The rumors and thinkpieces will be flying over the next few days. Be cautious! But for the moment, we’re all just going with “what?”
Update #1: Variety is reporting that the two clashed with Kennedy – who fired them – and co-writer/executive producer Lawrence Kasdan. The Hollywood Reporter has more details.
Update #2: Deadline says Ron Howard is a top choice to finish off the film. Kasdan himself is also reportedly a contender.
There was nothing about any of the upcoming spin-of films at Celebration, but we did get this “behind the scenes” look at the Han Solo film with Warwick Dave and directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, who revealed a new alien.
StarWars.com has annouced that principal photography has begin on the Han Solo standalone, along with confirming rumored cast members Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It’s also the first time they’ve mentioned the release date in quite a while – and surprisingly, it’s still May 25, 2018.
If it does indeed remain May, this would be our first non-December release since Disney bought the franchise, and could signal a permanent move back to spring for Episode IX and beyond. The May release date will put Han just on the heels of Episode VII, The Last Jedi, which is out December 15, 2017.
The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca along with Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are directing, from a script by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan.
That said, the rumor does come from a tweet by The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, who claims to have heard it from “a couple of sources” – though not, apparently, enough for an actual story. Still, it would be bigger news if the film didn’t involve the Falcon.
Now, we’re all a little (a lot, truth be told) sick of people complaining about how this film is going to be “predictable” or “boring.” About how people would rather have an Obi-wan movie, or whatever. (No, you’re not the first person to say it. You’re not even the thousandth.) And this rumor isn’t going to help matters, I’m sure. But the film is in pre-production. It has two key roles cast – Han and Lando – with a third that probably isn’t far behind. (Not to mention Chewbacca is probably locked in, as we know Ehrenrich tested with either Peter Mayhew or Joonas Suotamo.)
Most importantly, It also has a pair of directors who are best known for taking “horrible” ideas and actually making great films out of them. If you somehow managed to miss Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s The LEGO Movie or 21 Jump Street remake, please give them a try. And remember Lawrence Kasdan? He co-wrote the thing. These are not a bunch of random dudes off the street making a fan film. They, and everyone else at Lucasfilm, have a clear concept of the character and the film – check out those Celebration Europe clips again.
What do we, the audience, have? Hints and rumors and speculation – not the most solid ground for judgement.
I’m not going to discount the possibility that the movie could still turn out so-so. Hell, I’m still a little wary about the whole spinoff concept myself.
Fact is, this movie is happening. You don’t have to like it, but that’s not going to change at this point. But it’s far, far too soon to write it off. Give Han Solo a chance, just like you’re going to give Rogue One a chance. Hopefully, they both manage to surprise us.