Ron Howard is stepping in to direct the Han Solo prequel, which lost its original directors on Tuesday, when Disney-owned Lucasfilm issued a statement declaring that the latest entry into the Star Wars franchise was parting ways with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
After some speculation that Ron Howard might be brought in to finish the film, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that it was indeed the cause, with an official announcement expected Thursday morning.
Regarding the loss of the film’s original directing team, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy explained that “creative differences” were to blame for the split with Lord and Miller.
“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,” said Kennedy. “A new director will be announced soon.”
The directors confirmed their exit in a statement of their own. “Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project,” said Miller and Lord. “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.”
It’s now clear Howard will be stepping in for Lord and Miller, whose previous directing work has included The LEGO Movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street and its sequel, 22 Jump Street. It’s not clear whether this setback will affect the Han Solo release date of May 25, 2018.
Howard appeared on stage at the Cannes Lions festival on Friday and talked about taking on the role. In an interview with Martin Sorrell, Howard said stepping in for Lord and Miller is an “opportunity that came his way.” He also said he’s been a Star Wars fan forever. Adding, “It’s gratifying to lend my voice to the Star Wars universe now.”
“I’ve been around the Star Wars universe from the beginning,” Howard explained. George Lucas was working on the story for Star Wars: A New Hope while they worked on American Graffiti together and Howard thought the idea was really out there.
Shortly after the news was announced of Lord and Miller’s departure, Deadline reported that Howard was the frontrunner to take over the film, whose impressive roster of hits includes such films as Splash, The Da Vinci Code, Parenthood, A Beautiful Mind and many more.
The Hollywood Reporter says that Howard will meet with the film’s cast to smooth everything over, and go over a rough edit of the film to see what currently exists, and how to go ahead.
The film had been scheduled for roughly three more weeks of shooting, plus five weeks of reshoots, but that is likely to change.
Production on the anticipated prequel began in February, with Alden Ehrenreich in the titular role as a younger version of Harrison Ford’s iconic space smuggler. Also starring are Woody Harrelson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emilia Clarke, Joonas Suotamo (as Chewbacca) and Donald Glover as young Lando Calrissian.