Well, unless you’ve been hiding out under a rock this week, it is very likely you’ve heard the news that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been fired from the untitled ‘Han Solo’ movie for Lucasfilm, which is still in production, with the media claiming the shake-up has come from creative differences between the directors and both Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan (a man who has been with the ‘Star Wars’ franchise still ‘The Empire Strikes Back’).
Lord and Miller released the following statement on Tuesday following the news coming out:
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”
Kathleen Kennedy echoed that statement with her own:
“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways.”
It seems most likely to sources that Lord and Miller’s improvisational style was not meshing with Kasdan’s strict adherence to the written word (what is in the script), and that was the initial cause of the friction on set. According to one of the Hollywood Reporter’s sources on the story:
“People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish.”
Most recently the filmmakers had taken a break to review the footage, and that might have been the final straw for Lucasfilm and Kennedy, who from the beginning saw the film being shot in a very specific way, with her commenting that they wanted it to have “…a heist or Western type feel,” and then adding, “We’ve talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colors that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel of the film.” Most likely the highly comedic tone that usually accompanies Lord and Miller’s films was just not what Kennedy wanted for the ‘Han Solo movie.
A source for Variety claimed issues almost from the beginning between Kennedy and the directors:
“It was a culture clash from day one. She didn’t even like the way they folded their socks….They weren’t given the leeway to do what they had to do…Kathy, her team and Larry Kasdan have been doing it their way for a very long time. They know how the cheese is made and that’s how they want it made. It became a very polarizing set.””
The real question here is, why did they even go with Lord and Miller if they knew the style of movies they made did not mesh with what they wanted for the ‘Han Solo’ movie? Why would Kasdan sign off on directors known for encouraging improv and going off-script when he was so by the book? I know Miller and Lord were doing very well over at Warner Bros with the ’21 Jump Street’ and ‘Lego Movie’ franchises, but do either of those really translate into men who can create a good ‘Star Wars’ movie? I honestly don’t know the answer, but at this point, it seems like it was a mistake to bring them into the Lucasfilm family in the first place, as now they are in the middle of production and without a director, which is never a good place to be. True, Disney and Lucasfilm have the money and talent behind the movie to make it work regardless, and with the amazing cast of this film I’m sure they can keep it together, but here’s hoping the vetting process will get a little bit tougher in the future. After all, these are the same folk who hired and fired Josh Trank for a ‘Star Wars’ film just a few months before his disastrous ‘Fantastic Four’ movie came out. I appreciate giving some indie directors a chance to direct a big-budget ‘Star Wars’ movie, but let’s not risk the franchise by taking unnecessary chances on people who may not be a good fit.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Were Kennedy and Kasdan being too controlling here? Or were Lord and Miller just not the right men for the job, and was it better to get them out while there was still time? Share your opinions in the comments below!