Ron Howard Tapped to Helm Han Solo Film
News on the Star Wars front has been moving faster than the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel Run.
Two days ago directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller announced that they were parting ways with Lucasfilm over creative differences in the filming of the new Han Solo film. Almost immediately we were told that the names Joe Johnston, Robert Zemekis, and Ron Howard were being tossed around. Today it was finally confirmed that Howard would be taking over.
Reactions on the internet and Twitter have ranged from hopefully optimistic to frankly outraged. Nerdist basically considers the move a redirection back to the status quo, feeling that Lord and Miller would have injected much needed new blood and life into the series.
Entertainment Weekly quoted sources as saying the trouble began when Lord and Miller basically did what they are known for doing, allowing the actors to improv and turning the film more towards a comedy. It seems ridiculous to even think that they wouldn’t have taken the film in that direction, considering they are best known for The Lego Movie, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and the 21 Jump Street reboot. I understand that Han is the most comedic of our beloved trio, but his comedy is more snarky than knee-slapping. After spending almost five months filming, the dailies started making Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan nervous, and efforts to compromise failed.
The improv is also reported as possibly taking the story too far away from Kasdan’s original script. Considering that he wrote two of the series classics – The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as well as The Force Awakens – it’s pretty safe to say that Kasdan knows the Star Wars saga pretty well, so it feels like only a massive deviation could have warranted this result. If only he could have intervened when it came to Phantom Menace.
So now we have Ron Howard shepherding everyone’s favorite space smuggler. Again, it’s hardly a likely choice from a filmmaking standpoint. Although undoubtedly one of the most talented directors of our time, the only time Howard went to space was Apollo 13 – a great movie, yes, but it’s a dramatic account of a nonfictional event, not sci-fi. The only other films in his repertoire that might fill that gap are Cocoon and Willow, from about thirty years ago. Although having an Oscar-winner at the helm can’t be a bad thing, the only connection Howard has to Star Wars is his friendship with George Lucas, having starred in Lucas’s American Graffiti and directed Willow, which Lucas wrote. Is that going to be enough?
The Hollywood Reporter says that Howard is now on his way to London and that filming will restart on July 10th after he assesses the situation and talks to the actors. After apparently having free range, Howard will have to reign in the creative temperaments of actors like Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), who has received acclaim for his own screenwriting work.
For better or for worse, our witty, wisecracking Han will eventually make it onto the screen, since it’s still scheduled for a May 25, 2018 premiere. Ron Howard is a more than apt replacement even if he’s also a bit of a head-scratcher. As we spend the next eleven months debating, remember the words of master Yoda, “Always in motion is the future.”