Well here’s an oldie but a goodie! It’s been nearly a year since original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were handed their walking papers and dismissed from the set of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’ In the months since, a lot of time and ink has been spent parsing exactly what lead to this turn of events, with the short answer amounting to “creative differences.” More important, though, is what came next. In the wake of Lord and Miller’s, firing, Ron Howard was brought in to complete the film.
Once on board, Howard found himself in the unenviable position of having to piece the film together using footage he shot himself and any of Lord and Miller’s footage that could still fit with his and Lucasfilm’s vision of what ‘Solo’ should be. So how much of ‘Solo’ is Ron Howard’s and how much is Lord and Miller’s? That’s the question, isn’t it? As with Joss Whedon’s work on ‘Justice League’, the director has thus far declined to make any public comment on percentages. That being the case, there have been conflicting reports on the matter, with some sources saying that Howard’s reshoots covered “potentially 80% or more” of the film, while others have said the movie “didn’t really” change.
A new (and remarkably detailed) report in the Wall Street Journal would seem to give more credence to the former claim, however. The story claims that the roughly seventy percent of the finished film was directed by Ron Howard, with the remaining thirty percent salvaged from Miller and Lord’s months of filming. Why such an imbalance? Well, that gets at the heart of the creative differences that lead Lucasfilm to show the directing duo the door in the first place.
Until now, the most concrete information we’ve had about the “creative differences” is that it boiled down to a rift between the film’s directors (Lord and Miller) and its writers (Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan). An Entertainment Weekly article published in the wake of their firing summed it up thusly: “Lucasfilm and producer Kathleen Kennedy believed Lord and Miller were hired to add a comedic touch. Lord and Miller believed they were hired to make a comedy.” This schism was compounded by their repeated clashes with Lucasfilm in general and Lawrence Kasdan in particular over their habit of encouraging on-set improvisation, with the Kasdans insisting their script be shot as it was written.
The Wall Street Journal piece, however, sheds some new light on what Lord and Miller’s version of ‘Solo’ might have looked like. As an anonymous source explained to the Journal, “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’.” In other words, Lord and Miller’s version could likely be described as “experimental” (at least within the context of a ‘Star Wars’ film) whereas Howard’s finished version is a more deliberately ‘Star Wars’-style of film.
Lord and Miller retain a producer credit on ‘Solo’, having reportedly declined to contest Howard’s directing credit after a screening of the finished version of the film.
‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ will arrive in theaters on May 25, 2018. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Joonas Suotamo. Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on ‘Solo’ and other upcoming ‘Star Wars’ films as it becomes available!