The Han Solo anthology film is well into development however news broke late last night that director’s Phil Miller & Chris Lord have departed the production.
The old reliable reason of “creative differences” is being cited by both Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasfilm and Lord & Miller themselves in statements via StarWars.com and the brief piece states that a new director will be announced soon and the Han Solo film is still set for release in May 2018. Everything seems relatively amicable, right?
Well, The Hollywood Reporter (usually good for a scoop) has taken a deeper look into the goings on with the production and their findings is that creative differences were a genuine reason for Lord & Miller’s departure from the set. It is reported that Lord & Miller clashed with Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter Empire Strikes Back & Raiders of the Lost Ark) over the style and vision for the film. According to one of THR’s sources inside the production, the characterisation of Han Solo was one major point of conflict between the 21 Jump Street duo & Kasdan, with THR’s source quoted as saying:
“People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish,”
We know from Lord & Miller’s work on the Jump Street series & The LEGO Movie that they have great comedic sensibility. It makes sense that they would treat the Han character and the tone of the movie with a bit more of a slapstick sort of tone. It also makes sense that Kasdan, who shaped the character of Han Solo and was one of the pioneers behind the original success of the Star Wars franchise, would disagree with their vision in favour of his own. Given Kasdan’s status when it comes to the Star Wars franchise & mythos, it’s a no brainer that Kathleen Kennedy & Lucasfilm sided with the screenwriter.
It’s also worth noting that Rogue One director Gareth Edwards was also moved aside for Tony Gilroy to come in and write/direct the reshoots that R1 underwent. Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm & Disney seem willing to do whatever is necessary for the Star Wars franchise to be a success and while some may see this as ruthless, at the end of the day they’re protecting a $4 Billion investment. As far as Kennedy & co. are concerned, it would be more worthwhile to keep a resource like Lawrence Kasdan on board for the sake of the Star Wars saga & spin-off materials in future.
What Happens Next?
It is expected that a new director for Han Solo will be announced pretty quickly. With less than a year to release, Disney will want to get someone on board fast to steady the ship and adhere to the set release date (although nobody would be surprised if it was pushed to December). Names such as Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon) and Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger, Jumanji) have been linked however we await official announcement.
As for Phil Miller & Chris Lord? Rumours have emerged since the announcement of their departure from Han Solo that they may end up coming back aboard DC Film’s & Warner Bros. The Flash movie. The duo wrote one of the early treatments for the film and the struggles of that particular production are well documented. Perhaps the tone they had intended on bringing to the Han Solo film would actually be better suited to The Flash. With Geoff Johns now in control of the DC Film slate in a Kevin Feige-esque role, there could be plenty of potential in a light-hearted, funny Flash production with Miller & Lord’s touch and Geoff Johns’ excellent knowledge and understanding of The Flash character.