There’s been plenty of speculation and differing stories as to the sudden departure of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the untitled young Han Solo “Star Wars” spin-off since the news broke.
Officially the reason was ‘creative differences’ and at least two reports since then have essentially suggested that was the case – albeit a very soft description of the chasm of difference between the helmers and writer Lawrence Kasdan and producer Kathleen Kennedy which led to the unprecedented exit.
A new report at EW goes further into the split, saying what began as a simple misunderstanding grew over time:
“Ever since filming began back in February, Lord and Miller began steering the Han Solo movie more into the genre of laughs than space fantasy. Lucasfilm and producer Kennedy believed Lord and Miller were hired to add a comedic touch [to a space fantasy], while Lord and Miller believed they were hired to make a comedy.
Essentially there was a tonal discrepancy with the pair leaning too far into the comedy. But that was only one issue. They also encouraged significant improvisation from the actors rather than sticking to the script. The film’s dailies apparently showed they were taking significant departures from what Kasdan wrote to the point of major changes to the story.
They were advised to stick to the course laid out by Kasdan but Lord and Miller dug in, refusing to compromise on what they saw as best for the film. Kennedy was also determined to do what she saw was best for the film, even as they had very differing perspectives. The partnership went from strained to fractured and as it became clear they didn’t share the same vision for some critical scenes and obviously wouldn’t acquiesce to Kennedy’s demands during reshoots.
So, on Monday, the pair were told they were terminated with news of the cut breaking on Tuesday night. Two days later, Ron Howard was named as their replacement and will have two weeks to get to the UK, get up to speed on where things are and come up with a plan to complete the film either on time or with minimal schedule extensions.
Howard has now commented on the record about his hiring, saying on Twitter: “I’m beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since 5/25/77. I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.”
He followed that up with comments at Cannes Lions (via THR) and said it was “a little opportunity that came my way…it’s gratifying to lend my voice to the Star Wars universe now.”
One obvious question that remains is the credit on the film and whether all three will be listed in the final version. The Directors Guild of America, which has the ultimate authority, has refused to comment and the issue is unlikely to be resolved for several months.