You more than likely know the story of the behind the scenes problems with the upcoming Star Wars movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Originally, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were directing the film, until they left the project more than halfway through production, when Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy decided she wasn’t happy with the direction the movie was taking.
In came Ron Howard to take over the film. Howard reportedly reshot much of what Lord and Miller had done. And in an interview with EW, Howard chatted about taking the job.
“I know Chris and Phil. They’re incredibly talented guys, and all anyone at Imagine Entertainment [which Howard co-founded] wants to do is find a way to work with Chris and Phil, and that’s every bit as much the case today as ever,” Howard said.
The director explained that getting the call to direct a Star Wars film was a bit of a surprise, especially since he hadn’t planned to direct anything in 2017.
“But when I learned that this change was happening, it just came in a moment where I was working on lots of new projects for Imagine, and I had not planned to direct anything last year. So then this came my way, and I was talking to Kathy [Kennedy], and the now tragically late Alli Shearmur, an old friend. I was reluctant, but I also began to feel that I could help.”
A clash between Lord and Miller and Kennedy and co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was cited as the reason for the director change. It was reported last year that Kennedy and Kasdan didn’t jive with Lord and Miller’s highly improvisational directorial style, preferring the directors stay on script. Colin Trevorrow, who was set to direct Episode IX, suffered a similar fate after he clashed on the script with Kennedy.
“It’s disappointing that any company ever feels like they have to make a change like that,” he said of the removal of Lord and Miller from the production. “It’s rough on everybody and disappointing for everybody, and I’ve just tried to come in and — of course, Phil and Chris’ fingerprints are all over the movie, given how much they put into it and the time they put into it. I hope fans won’t even think about how the movie was made. They should just lose themselves in it.”
It’s unclear just how much of Lord and Miller’s vision remains in the final cut of the film. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, it’s now being estimated that Howard reshoot around 70% of Lord and Miller’s footage, as part of his overhaul of the movie.
The reason? According to a source, “Ron wanted to go back to the spirit of the original trilogy, while Phil and Chris were looking forward to something new, more like Guardians of the Galaxy.” Lucasfilm preferred Howard’s approach, it seems clear.
Lord and Miller are credited as executive producers on Solo while Howard is credited as director.
The film lands in cinemas on May 25.