There was some rather shocking news yesterday as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired from the Star Wars Han Solo spin-off film they were directing. There remains some ambiguity around the decision, with the pair attributing their exit to ‘creative differences’. It is rumoured that the execs at Lucasfilm were not happy at all with how the project was turning out, specifically with some of the cast’s performances and big action set-pieces. Now that Lord and Miller have left the project, the search for a new director begins.
While it may seem simple to attract a multitude of directors with the allure of the Star Wars brand, there are many complicating factors. To start with, Lord and Miller have been signed onto this project since July 2015 and have been shooting since February. There is speculation that there are just 3 weeks of principal photography left.
This means that any director joining this project would have to contend with an almost completed Lord and Miller’s vision which, in all likelihood, will be very different from their own. The director would probably just have to try and best replicate the original view for the film whilst shooting and do most of the work in the cutting room. Make no mistake, however, post production is a crucial job that ties the whole film together and one that the director takes a very active role in.
Whilst editing, the new director would have the task of keeping the whole picture artistically coherent meanwhile trying to incorporate their own creativity and, at the same time, be conscious of Lucasfilm’s thoughts on their Star Wars Stories Project. Not a very attractive proposition and many would want to avoid the controversy that has occurred thus far. After all, Star Wars is a huge franchise and no one wants to be a part of a disappointing entry into the series, especially with such a passionate fanbase.
On top of all this, a new helmsman must deal with the DGA (Directors Guild of America). The guild protects Director’s rights and will not appreciate the removal of Lord and Miller. In fact, they have a very stringent rule designed to stop producers from taking over as a director, unless in a dire emergency.
This means that one of the big rumoured names, producer Lawrence Kasdan who co-wrote both Empire and Return of the Jedi, is unlikely to direct. The DGA is also likely to take great interest in who Lucasfilm appoint and will take action if they deem that Miller and Lord were removed in an unsatisfactory way.
All in all, it appears that there is a great amount of turmoil in the project thus far (understatement, I know). Attracting a new director to Star Wars is going to be very complicated and I just cannot see a big name signing onto the project for what is essentially a Lucasfilm repair job. Therefore, Lucasfilm cannot really risk with hiring an auteur filmmaker, as someone with such a heightened sense of creativity and vision would undoubtedly clash with the producers. However, bringing in a generic paint-by-the-numbers director hardly seems an attractive prospect either.
It is interesting to wonder why exactly Miller and Lord were removed. They have been on this project for two years. In that time, one would assume that Lucasfilm could’ve flagged ‘creative differences’ or would check on how the filming was proceeding. As much as it is easy to demonise Lucasfilm attacking the creative filmmakers, we must remember that this was the last thing that they wanted for Star Wars. Publicly removing them was a last resort and a bad PR move. Lucasfilm knows that it will knock confidence in the product, which must mean that Lucasfilm really ran into serious troubles with this film.
Well, what do you guys think? Have you felt a great disturbance in the force? How do you think the project will turn out? What do you think the creative differences were? Comment below with your thoughts. Make sure to voice your opinion in our forums as well.
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Ron Howard (director of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind) has been confirmed as the new director for the untitled Han Solo movie.
Here is the official quote by Lucasfilm:
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”
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