In a shock turn of events, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have exited the still-untitled Han Solo movie which is currently in production. In a statement released by Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm on StarWars.com, she says:
“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. A new director will be announced soon.”
In the same statement, Lord and Miller say:
“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 cliche is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”
Variety has further details saying this wasn’t an amicable split, the pair were straight up fired, and it comes after months of conflict with producer Kathleen Kennedy, co-writer and executive producer Lawrence Kasdan, and others from her LucasFilm team.
The issue is one of control – Kennedy and those involved in the franchise hold a tight leash and, as the trade says, seem unwilling to empower directors to make certain creative decisions (not unlike various other major franchises from Marvel to James Bond). Young indie directors are often hired for these kinds of films because they’re more easily compliant.
But Lord & Miller have earned their stripes both with critics and at the box-office before and have been around long enough to have their own way of doing things. The pair reportedly balked at Kennedy’s tight control while she reportedly did not approve of their shooting style and process of interacting with actors and crew.
The pair’s more improvisational style also clashed with Kasdan’s approach of strict adherence to the script and he also reportedly questioned many of the pair’s directing choices. A source says: “It was a culture clash from day one. She [Kennedy] didn’t even like the way they folded their socks. 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.”
Such a forced departure in the middle of filming is a highly unusual situation meaning it’s unclear if the pair will be credited on the film. The production began shooting in February and still has several weeks left to shoot along with reshoots to take place this Summer.
One person it won’t be is Tony Gilroy who oversaw some of the reshoots for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and who has already had a spokesperson indicate he has no plans to get involved.
The film will focus on how young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley. The movie will cover Han’s life from 18 to 24, showcasing how he came into possession of the Millennium Falcon and how he first met Chewbacca.
The film presently remains on schedule for a May 25th 2018 release.