The Star Wars spinoff movies started off with a bang, thanks to Rogue One being such a big hit. Unfortunately for Lucasfilm and Disney, the franchise’s second standalone film is generating some bad buzz after some shocking news.
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been taken off the Han Solo movie with three weeks of shooting remaining on the production. According to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, creative differences were the reason for the split.
“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. A new director will be announced soon.”
The official statement from Lucasfilm also included remarks from Lord and Miller.
“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.”
The Han Solo film (which may be titled “Solo,” according to t-shirts for the crew that were leaked online) is scheduled to be released on May 25, 2018, and there’s no indication that Lucasfilm intends to miss that date. Though some shooting remains, along with whatever reshoots might be required (which were already planned and are typical for blockbuster productions), the footage already shot by Lord and Miller will likely be re-edited and the new director will go from there, as reported by THR’s Borys Kit.
Kit’s follow-up report also said that Lord and Miller largely conflicted with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and wrote the script for the Han Solo film with his son Jon.
Lord and Miller favored a more comedic, improvisational approach, which shouldn’t be a surprise for the directors of The LEGO Movie and the 21 Jump Street films. That apparently didn’t sit well with Kasdan, who wanted the directors to stick to the script. Reportedly, there was also disagreement about how Solo should be portrayed as well. Variety‘s Brent Lang reports that Kennedy didn’t like the directors’ shooting style, nor how they interacted with actors. Understandably, Lord and Miller were surprised to find out that they weren’t allowed to work as they usually do on a film.
Oddly enough, the other standalone Star Wars movies have also encountered director issues. Rogue One was directed by Gareth Edwards, but when the movie had to reshoot key scenes, writer Tony Gilroy was brought in to consult and help oversee the process. Two years ago, Josh Trank was dismissed from another Star Wars project, rumored to be a Boba Fett film, when producers became concerned over his conduct directing Fantastic Four. (Trank insisted the scrutiny from directing another blockbuster became too much.)
Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) stars as the younger Han Solo, with Woody Harrelson as Solo’s mentor and Donald Glover as a younger Lando Calrissian. The cast also includes Thandie Newton, Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Michael K. Williams and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag).
The question now becomes who will take over for Lord and Miller? Considering how much of the film has already been shot, an experienced director will likely take over. THR reports that Ron Howard is one of the filmmakers that Lucasfilm is considering. Another is Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) who did visual effects work on the original three Star Wars films. Kasdan — who’s directed films such as Body Heat, Silverado and Dreamcatcher — is also a possibility.
[Editor’s note: Additional updates from subsequent reports were added by Ian Casselberry.]