Earlier this week, the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff fired directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller over creative differences between them and producers Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan. We previously reported that among the frontrunners to replace the duo was Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, and according to THR, he now has the gig.
Per THR, “Howard is considered to be a safe choice to complete the task, someone who will more than ably finish the movie while being a calming presence on set,” and on paper, his hiring makes sense. He’s an accomplished veteran who won’t rock the boat, and he’ll get the job done. According to THR, Howard will meet with the actors “to soothe a rattled set and will pore over a rough edit to see what the project has and still needs.”
Three and a half more weeks of shooting are still needed, and five weeks of shooting are built into the schedule, but the question becomes if that will still hold if Howard decides that the movie needs to be retooled. Additionally, it will be interesting to see if Howard keeps Lord and Miller’s above the line talent in place like cinematographer Bradford Young (Arrival), or if he’ll bring in his own people. There’s also the question of trying to get more time out of actors who have other projects. Donald Glover is slated to start on a new season of Atlanta and assuming Daenerys Targaryen survives this season of Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke will be needed back for the final season of the HBO series.
The selection of Howard to direct is underwhelming but understandable. He doesn’t make particularly good movies (for every Rush you get an Inferno, The Dilemma, and an In the Heart of the Sea), but he’s competent enough, and that’s apparently all Lucasfilm is looking for at this point. It makes me wonder if in their future endeavors they’ll be looking more for journeyman directors who can fill out the blueprint of a standard Star Wars movies rather than filmmakers who have a specific vision on what they want to do with the series.
Lucasfilm sent out a press release on the hiring of Howard, and saying that filming will resume on July 10th:
Lucasfilm is pleased to announce that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard has been named director of the untitled Han Solo film.
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “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. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”
Howard has made some of the biggest hits and most critically-acclaimed movies of the modern era. Among his many films are Lucasfilm’s Willow, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind (winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director), The Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon, and Rush. He also narrated and produced the beloved comedy series Arrested Development, starred in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, and remains a TV icon for his roles in The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days.
The untitled Han Solo film is slated for a May 25, 2018, release.