(UPDATED) Disney fires the Han Solo film directors, which may be a good thing for WB
Update: Ron Howard has officially been hired as director. The original shooting schedule still has just over three weeks blocked out for principal photography, with five weeks planned for reshoots. Howard will review all the existing footage and then meet with Lucasfilm to discuss what needs to be done. At the moment, the film is still set for a May 25, 2018 release.
Original Post: In a move that is shocking and yet in many ways entirely predictable, Disney and Lucasfilm’s Han Solo film has lost its directors. Phil Lord and Chris Miller were reportedly fired after nearly four months of filming following, several clashes with the film’s writer, Lawrence Kasdan.
The news came down while the production was on a temporary hiatus to review the footage that has already been shot, and to try to work out differences between the two sides. According to THR, the conflicts began almost from the moment the directing duo was hired. Kasdan had a very specific vision for the film, while Lord and Miller had their own ideas. In the end, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy sided with her long time cohort Kasdan, and Lord and Miller were informed that they were out.
People in the know claim that the heart of the argument revolved around the portrayal of Han Solo. Kasdan always saw him more as a rogue and an adventurer, while the directorial team saw him in a more humorous light – which isn’t really surprising given that Lord and Miller are known primarily for their comedy films.
On insider that spoke to THR summed it up by saying, “People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish.”
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that Disney and Lucasfilm are willing to go to extremes when it comes to the Star Wars franchise. The proof of that is Rogue One. Disney wasn’t happy with the direction of the film, so it went as far as to sideline director Gareth Edwards and bring in Tony Gilroy for extensive reshoots that changed the tone of the film. It worked out well in that case, so there’s no reason to think they would hesitate to do the same thing again, especially when there are significant differences of opinion.
“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 cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew,” Lord and Miller said in a statement.
There’s no word yet on a possible replacement, but Lucasfilm will likely want to get someone attached quickly to review the footage and see what needs to be done to get the film back where they want it. A few names that are already rumored to be at the top of the studio’s wish list are Ron Howard, Joe Johnston, and Kasdan himself – although there may be complications with rules set down by the Directors Guild of America. TheHan Solo film is still locked for a May 25, 2018 relese date, but that might need to change depending on how extensive reshoots are.
As for Lord and Miller, Disney’s loss may be Warner Bros. gain. The pair has already met with WB to discuss directing The Flash.
WB originally hired both to write the initial script for the film, although at the time they were not in the running to direct. Given that TheFlash has lost two directors and the studio is scrambling to find a third, and given that Wonder Woman showed that less darkness and grit was more palatable to audiences, Lord and Miller might be a perfect fit.
At the moment, WB is still hoping to see The Flash in theaters on 2019. That seems more and more unlikely with each passing day, but Lord and Miller already wrote a script and they are familiar with the character. If WB is concerned about getting the movie out sooner rather than later, they newly uneployed directors might be the answer WB has been looking for.