With the news that Phil Lord and Chris Miller were basically fired from the Han Solo movie and replaced with Ron Howard, I thought it was about time to try and make sense of it all.
As the title of this article suggests, I’m going to be discussing the upcoming Han Solo movie. You’ve all probably read about Lord and Miller’s departure from the project due to “deep fundamental differences” with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and you’ve most undoubtedly subsequently learned that Ron Howard has stepped into the director’s chair. Let me start by saying that I’m just going to be looking at this development from a personal standpoint, and I’m going to be looking into what this could mean for the spinoff film, and potentially the revamped Star Wars saga as a whole.
Firstly, it’s undeniably disappointing to see Phil Lord and Chris Miller leave the project. One of the main reasons I was so excited for this Han Solo movie was because the two of them were involved. Their previous films demonstrated that they have a knack for making great films that on paper had no shot in hell of being any good. Just look at The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Who’d have thought that any of those films where going to be any good? Thanks to Lord and Miller, they were all fantastic, and I really felt that they were the right fit for the Han Solo movie.
Let me explain why I believed this to be the case. Firstly, despite being an interesting and popular character, is there really a need for a Han Solo spinoff movie? The answer to that question would have to be no. To the best of my knowledge, people weren’t crying out for a Han Solo spinoff movie any more than they were demanding a C-3PO and R2D2 buddy movie. Yet, by hiring Lord and Miller, Lucasfilm and Disney showed that they were willing to hand the keys to the Millennium Falcon film franchise to two young, innovative and interesting directors who could make something genuinely different in the Star Wars universe.
However, they’re now gone and Ron Howard is in, and this worries me. Take Rogue One for example. OK, so Gareth Edwards wasn’t fired, but for all intents and purposes, Lucasfilm took control away from him once they saw his first cut of the film. They brought in the more experience Tony Gilroy to do rewrites and reshoots. This is indicative of a larger problem at Lucasfilm. They want to hire these young and talented directors, but aren’t willing to give them the creative freedom they need to make genuinely different films, which in turn means that boundaries never get pushed.
By bringing on people like Gilroy and Howard, Kathleen Kennedy and the higher-ups at Lucasfilm and Disney have demonstrated an unwillingness to trust their original directors, and that’s not a good thing. Granted, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One were widely well received, both critically and commercially, however did they really push the boundaries of blockbuster filmmaking? Not really. There was a whisper of something interesting in Rogue One, but ultimately, it still followed the same generic formula.
I had as much creative control on TLJ as I’ve ever had on any of my own movies.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 21, 2017
Overall, this news is worrying, simply because it shows that Kennedy is still unprepared to trust the directors she gave the job to in the first place. It’s also evidence that these films are being made by the higher-ups at Lucasfilm, and not necessarily the filmmakers. That said, Rian Johnson has since claimed that he’s had complete control and creative freedom over Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so I might be worrying for nothing. Yet, I can’t help but be saddened by the fact that we won’t get to see Lord and Miller’s vision for the Han Solo spinoff movie, which I’m sure would have been something worth watching.
What are your thoughts on the Han Solo movie news, and who would you have replaced Lord and Miller with?