Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HAN SOLO Directors Fired, Ron Howard is Top Pick for Replacement

There are a lot of Star Wars fans having a bad feeling about this.

According to Variety, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directors of the upcoming untitled Han Solo film, have been fired by LucasFilm after clashing with producer Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas' successor.  The decision comes as the film still has several weeks left to shoot.  An additional several weeks of reshoots have been planned to take place later this summer.

Kennedy said in a statement, "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."

Kennedy promised a new director would be announced shortly.  Variety's sources say that Ron Howard is in talks to take over the film, but there's no deal yet.  Joe Johnston is also reportedly under consideration.

The film is centered on a young Han Solo, the roguish smuggler who later meets Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley Cantina in 1977's Star Warsand his adventures with his Wookiee partner Chewbacca, including their encounter with Lando Calrissian.

The cast includes Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Woody Harrelson as Han's criminal mentor Beckett, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

"Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project," said Lord and Miller in a statement.  "We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true.  We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew."

According to the article, "Miller and Lord were stunned to find that they were not being granted freedom to run the production in the manner that they were accustomed to. They balked at Kennedy’s tight control on the set."

Variety's source with knowledge of the production said the chemistry between the directors and Kennedy was never right.  "It was a culture clash from day one," said their source. "She didn’t even like the way they folded their socks."  In addition, Kennedy reportedly didn't approve of their shooting style and process of interacting with actors and crew.  "They weren’t given the leeway to do what they had to do," claimed the source.

The article also claims Lord and Miller also clashed with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who has been involved with several Star Wars movies, since The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Kasdan reportedly also questioned many of their directing decisions.  "Kathy, her team and Larry Kasdan have been doing it their way for a very long time," said Variety's source. "They know how the cheese is made and that’s how they want it made.  It became a very polarizing set."

The article continued, "Some insiders believe that while Kennedy wants to make a splash by hiring young indie directors such as Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), she’s ultimately unwilling to empower them to make their own creative decisions."

The Han Solo film is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 25, 2018.

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