A huge new opportunity in the Star Wars cinematic universe has just opened up for an enterprising director (or two). Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (above), who have been attached to direct the untitled Han Solo movie since July 2015, have departed the project, according to StarWars.com.
"It’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways," says Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president.
For their part, 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 cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”
Wait, isn't the movie already in production?
Yup. The movie began production in February. We can surmise that a big portion of the movie has already been shot and screened for Lucasfilm. Rumors have already begun swirling about the specifics of the "creative differences" and why they became insurmountable for the directors to resolve with Lucasfilm.
So what happens next?
Kennedy says: "A new director will be announced soon.” Per The Hollywood Reporter: "Sources say there are several weeks left on the shoot (who will be helming those is currently under wraps), with reshoots scheduled for later this summer."
As we've learned in recent years with both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, reshoots are usually built into the schedule for big-budget productions to allow for tweaks and other minor changes. But the change makes a new director will need to be lined up very soon to keep things on schedule.
Who might step in?
Ron Howard (Inferno, above), Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Lawrence Kasdan, who cowrote the script with his son Jon Kasdan, have all been mentioned as possible candidates by The Hollywood Reporter. Today Variety is reporting that Ron Howard is indeed in talks to take over directing duties.
Has this happened before?
Sure! It's not usual, by any means, but directors sometimes depart projects before production is completed. For example, director Richard Donner completed Superman back in 1978 and had completed most of the filming planned for Superman II before he departed the sequel.
More recently, Tony Gilroy was brought on board Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to help oversee reshoots, which were quite extensive. Gareth Edwards, however, retained credit as director. That seems to have turned out pretty well for the movie.
Will this affect the cast?
Nope! We can still look forward to seeing Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca
What's the story again?
The official synopsis says: "The movie will explore the duo’s adventures before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, including their early encounters with that other card-playing rogue from a galaxy far, far away, Lando Calrissian."
Will the release date change?
Nope! The movie is still scheduled for theatrical release on May 25, 2018.