Quite often, when someone gets fired from a job (or kicked off a reality show), they remark that “This is just the start” and vow to move on to bigger and better things. A lot of times that doesn’t actually work out, but for Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it seems that getting booted from directing ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ actually did lead to better work, specifically on the animated features ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ and ‘The LEGO Movie 2: The Second One’. Lord and Miller co-directed the first ‘LEGO Movie’ and Lord co-wrote ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ with both producing it, as well as ‘The LEGO Movie 2’. These animated pictures were in production at the same time as ‘Solo’, so while we’ll never know what might have been, but it’s safe to assume that had Lord and Miller stayed on ‘Solo’, it would have drained the majority of their attention.
The producers agree. With the promotion for ‘The LEGO Movie 2’ kicking up, Lord and Miller spoke to iO9, saying:
Lord: “Obviously we were able to spend a lot of time on these movies and it’s, I think, our good luck that we got to spend so much time making movies we care about.”
Miller: “And, you know, we were really passionate about both of these films and it was a real opportunity for us to be able to really dig in on both of them and be really involved in every aspect of the production.”
Lord and Miller may have directed the first ‘LEGO Movie’ but only served in the producer role on the sequel. Mike Mitchell (‘Trolls’) handled directing duties, but credits Lord and Miller with helping to refine the picture after their departure from ‘Solo’.
“The storytelling got more efficient. This is really a complicated story to tell… so when they came back into town I felt like I had a couple more people to bounce story stuff off of. Not to mention those guys are hilarious so the film got funnier. Those guys can’t help but add weird gags everywhere.”
We’ll have to wait and see if ‘The LEGO Movie 2’ can live up to the first movie, which became a surprise four-quadrant hit in 2014, drawing audiences of all ages to what most thought would be a throw-away toy commercial. But Lord and Miller have a lot to be proud of when it comes to ‘Into the Spider-Verse’. Not only was it a crowd-pleaser, with many chalking it up as the best Spider-Man movie ever, but it was a hit with critics, earning the Rotten Tomatoes Golden Tomato Award for Best-Reviewed animated movie of 2018. It has also already won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Picture, the Producers Guild of America Award, the Critics Choice Award, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the Black Film Critics Circle Award, and is up for the Academy Award, with many betting on it to take that ultimate honor home.
Meanwhile, Ron Howard took over as director on ‘Solo’, reportedly doubling the budget. When it arrived in theaters last May, it became the first outright flop in the ‘Star Wars’ film franchise.
‘The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part’ starring Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Will Ferrell, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph, and Arturo Castro will assemble in theaters on February 8.
‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 19.