After nearly half a year of filming under their belt, Lucasfilm announced yesterday (thanks to The Hollywood Reporter) that director’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller have left the upcoming Han Solo spinoff film. Not only was this news extremely shocking, but it made us all shake our head because there is only about a month left of production. Why so late in the game? Did something happen on set? Who will step in?
The film has been on a short break from production to sort of review what has been shot so far, eventually leading this quite shocking news. Now the question is why? Why were these two bright young directors let go after months of filming? According to The Hollywood Reporter, the phrase “creative differences” is actually the case this time, as sources are telling THR that “the style and vision of Lord and Miller clashed with that of Lawrence Kasdan,” who just so happen to not only write both The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark (two of Harrison Ford’s best roles), but the script for Han Solo (along with his son Jon) as well.
To thicken the plot, one insider told THR that Lord and Miller fundamentally didn’t understand the character of Han Solo, saying “people need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish.” THR reports that the “friction” between the directors and the creative team was “felt almost immediately,” but they all felt it could be worked out over time. That turned out to not be the case, as Kathleen Kennedy decided to longtime friend (Kasdan) and take the director’s chair in a different direction.
When I first heard this news, I was EXTREMELY shocked. I didn’t know what was going on. It left me speechless for a while. But as more details start to be revealed, I am now beginning to agree with the exit of Lord and Miller. The duo is incredibly talented. What they did with The LEGO Movie and more so the Jump Street franchise, nobody else could’ve done that. But, that style of filmmaking doesn’t work for this character. It hasn’t been confirmed, but I very much believe what THR had to report from above. Lord and Miller’s style is all about improvisational skills and the ability to bring out the best comedic, light-hearted moments. That isn’t Han Solo. In fact, it’s the farthest from it.
THR’s source said it best, “he’s sarcastic and selfish.” Solo is a smuggling nerf-herder who does scumbag things for his own gain. Remember, the first time we meet him, he has a bounty on his head. And while I don’t know, I believe that Kasdan knows that best, especially since he pretty much shaped who the character was and is in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I want to see Han Solo become Han Solo. And for me, that doesn’t include a Jump Street type vibe.
So is this drastic turn a bummer? Definitely. But remember, Disney and Lucasfilm and their partnership with the biggest franchise ever, it’s still very young. Rogue One went through a bit of trouble before its release and look how that ended up. Who’s to say Han Solo can’t do the same? No matter what happens during production, Disney and Lucasfilm have proven to get it right and put out the best product possible. And whoever they get to replace Lord and Miller, whether it be rumored frontrunner Ron Howard (yes please), Joe Johnston, or even Kasdan himself, I have no doubt Lucasfilm will get the right man for the job. And yes, that is something they should’ve done from the start.
As of right now, the Han Solo spinoff still holds a May 25th, 2018 release date. If the studio jumps on a new director quickly, that could stay the same, but don’t be surprised to here if the film does get pushed back at least a little bit. It will star Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo, Donald Glover as young Lando, Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson.