While occassionally a director is sidelined during the post-production period, it’s incredibly unusual for them to be ousted while filming is still going on. However, that’s what’s happened on the planned Han Solo spin-off movie, with Lucasfilm and helmer Phil Lord and Christopher Miller parting company with three weeks left on the production schedule.
Reports suggest executives felt the directors weren’t hitting the right tone, and that the creative differences they’d had with Lord and Miller since early in pre-production just getting worse. It’s rumoured that the directors’ comedic, improvisational style made some concerned they didn’t really understand the character of Han Solo or the script they were working from, while the footage they were producing made it difficult to tell what the finished movie might be like.
However, with production underway they’ve had to act quickly to plug the gap, with THR reporting that Ron Howard has come onboard to helm the movie. Howard was previously offered The Phantom Menace, but passed that opportunity up, but now the Da Vinci Code helmer will take over the Han Solo movie, finish principle shooting and then guide the film through its extensive post-production process. Lucasfilm will be hoping he can pull things together to their satisfaction.
The studio comments, “At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew and the absolute commitment to make a great movie.”
Production will resume on July 10th, once Howard has had a chance to familiarise himself with the project and see what he thinks it needs.
Interestingly, it’s not known yet who will get the directors’ credit on the finished film. The Directors’ Guild usually only allows a single director, and is likely to be very unhappy about allowing three, even if that would seem the most sensible option.