When the announcement was made last week that Phil Lord and Chris Miller would no longer be directing the untitled Han Solo spinoff, details were quite scarce regarding their departure from the coveted project that will now be helmed by the legendary Ron Howard. In the official statement made by the filmmakers and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, both sides simply cited creative differences as the main reason behind the ‘LEGO Movie’ & ’21 Jump Street’ duo leaving the second Star Wars Anthology film. However, some new information has recently come to light that should illuminate the situation further.
According to Entertainment Weekly, it all came down to comedy and just how much of it Lucasfilm was expecting from Lord and Miller. One source says that while Kennedy and company were looking for a sci-fi fantasy with some comedic elements, the directors thought that they were making a straight up comedy similar to their previous works. Another source shares that the duo were encouraging the typical comedic practice of improvisation from the amazingly talented cast that includes ‘Community’ star and ‘Atlanta’ creator Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and ‘Fleabag’ creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to the degree that they were straying away from the script written by ‘Star Wars’ veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon. Though fixing the scenes with significant improv might’ve been done during reshoots, it became clear that the filmmakers and producers disagreed on “the vision for some critical scenes”. With Lord and Miller refusing to compromise and Kennedy determined to do what is best for the film and the franchise as a whole, both sides agreed to part ways.
However, The Hollywood Reporter tells a very different story that comes off as much more extreme. While the bits about being too comedic and utilizing improv matched up, THR’s sources say that the crew was very supportive of the decision to bring in a new director. Their report even says that there was applause when that announcement was made because Lord and Miller had “deep fundamental philosophical differences” in terms of filmmaking that caused shoots to go at a much slower pace since they spent so much time collaborating with their actors and making changes on the fly, which resulted in hundreds of crew members waiting for direction rather than following a pre-established plan. Not only were they not filming at a desirable rate for the crew or the producers, but the shots that they did get didn’t provide too many options for the editors to work with while cutting the movie together. And on top of all that, Lucasfilm wasn’t happy with the performance that the directors were bringing out of star Alden Ehrenreich, so they brought in an acting coach to bring everyone onto the same page. Sure, this isn’t an uncommon practice on movies, but for a coach to be brought in this late in the game is a bit troubling.
In an effort to reel them in, Lawrence Kasdan had to come to the London set from Los Angeles in order to essentially shadow direct Lord and Miller. His primary concern seemed to be making sure that the story stayed on track and the film was shot as written, but the pair’s solution was simply to shoot a scene the way that Kasdan wanted before doing another take the way they had always done. While Kasdan’s presence made them feel as if they had “zero creative freedom” and were working with “extreme scheduling constraints”, the publication’s sources state that the duo’s work felt as though “nothing in their background prepared them for a movie of this size and scope”. With so many styles clashing during production, it sounds like Kennedy had no choice but to pull the trigger like she did.
No matter which version of the story holds true, Phil Lord and Chris Miller should bounce back just fine considering how in demand they were prior to their journey to a galaxy far, far away. There are already rumors saying that they’ll be the next directors to try their hand at directing ‘The Flash’ starring Ezra Miller. However, it still would have been interesting to see what they would have done with Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon. But if the new regime at Lucasfilm tabled ‘Star Wars Detours’ from the ‘Robot Chicken’ guys, then it’s not that surprising that ‘Star Wars’ isn’t ready to go full on funny just yet.
Are you disappointed that Phil Lord and Chris Miller are no longer directing the upcoming Han Solo movie? Are you surprised by the reports coming out of how the process was going on set while they were at the helm? How do you think Ron Howard will do now that he has stepped in? And do you think that Lucasfilm should consider doing a straight up ‘Star Wars’ comedy in the future? Sound off in the comments.