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.
Lucasfilm has announced that Donald Glover will be playing the young Lando Calrissian in 2018’s Han Solo standalone. StarWars.com says the film will “depicts Lando in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld.” Glover joins Alden Ehrenreich as Han.
“We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us,” said directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”
The young Han Solo movie is casting for a “Chance” – aka Lando Calrissian, The Wrap reports today. With Chewbacca and (probably) the Millennium Falcon on board, it seems likely that we could be getting the tale of how Han won the ship from Lando in the first place.
UPDATE: According to Birth Movies Death, Donald Glover (Community, The Martian) is the first choice for the role.
Like Han, these are gonna be tough shoes to fill. We first met Lando, as played by Billy Dee Williams, in The Empire Strikes Back. (Empire screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan penned the script to the new film with his son Jon.) Williams has reprised the role recently on Rebels.
In less rumory news, co-director Chris Miller shared on Twitter a picture of him and Philip Lord on the Falcon set. (Presumably Episode VIII’s.) We do know they auditioned Alden Ehrenreich and other finalists for the role of Han on the Falcon set.
No Episode VIII title* out of the Future Filmmakers panel at Celebration Europe, but they did confirm Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo and bring him out on stage. He was the first person to audition (out of 3000 people!) and won the role over 6 months. Directs Christopher Miller and Phil Lord have only just moved to London for pre-production, and they expect to start shooting in early 2017.
Earlier, Kathleen Kennedy said Episode VIII director Rian Johnson “moves the camera as well as Steven Spielberg.” We learned that Johnson spent about six weeks with Lucasfilm before even starting in on the script.
The panel winded down with surprise appearances from John Boyega, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. (Plus Gary and Millie.) It looked fun, but there was nothing really earth-shattering revealed. Check out the StarWars.com liveblog for details.
Below the cut, videos from the panel, and the interviews afterward!