More details about the shake up that led to Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s shocking dismissal from the young Han Solo spinoff movie have made their way online, uncovering additional aspects about the troubled production. Last week, Lucasfilm sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry by firing the LEGO Movie duo after four months of principal photography had been completed. Shortly after, Oscar-winner Ron Howard stepped in to pick up the pieces and will resume filming in July after he meets with the cast and crew and reviews an early assembled cut of the footage. For the time being, Han Solo remains on target for its previously scheduled May 2018 release date.
In the days since Lord and Miller’s departure, fans have been reading through the various reports, trying to make sense of the unprecedented situation. The infamous “creative differences” in this instance seem to have stemmed from the improvisational style Lord and Miller employed, and also concerns that the film was too comedic for Lucasfilm’s tastes. Now, new information has come out concerning what happened on the Han Solo set and what will take place now that Howard is the one in charge.
A new feature in THR covers the various problems that plagued the standalone. In addition to the improv approach that displeased screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (who feels every line should be said as scripted), Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Kasdan were unhappy with the limited selection of shots Lord and Miller were getting. An anecdote mentions the duo used one day to get just three different camera placements, as opposed to the 12-15 Kennedy was looking for. Late into production, Lucasfilm also hired an acting coach to help get a better performance out of star Alden Ehrenreich (who has the daunting task of following Harrison Ford’s footsteps as the iconic smuggler) and made a last-minute editor switch. With Han Solo struggling to improve no matter what the studio tried to do, Kennedy asked Kasdan to travel to London and see if he could course-correct. Lord and Miller weren’t ready for the writer to become a “shadow director,” and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Kennedy, concerned about the backlash in the press if Lord and Miller were outright fired, tried to work with them or somewhat supplant them for reshoots in a scenario similar to last year’s Rogue One, but the parties could not reach an agreement.
Furthermore, the article mentions Howard will be in London today (June 26) to start work and will be filming from July until the first week of September. Since Lord and Miller’s shooting style was the main catalyst for the issues, some fans were worried about how much of Han Solo would need to be reshot, but it sounds like things are better than initially expected. According to a source, most of Lord and Miller’s footage is “very usable,” so Howard fortunately isn’t going to have to start from scratch. There will of course be additional photography for pickups (as there is on every major tentpole), but hopefully that’s nothing too drastic and Howard can deliver a quality film. If nothing else, his taking over should help things run smoothly from here on out. THR heard that Howard being named new director caused crew members to break into applause.
It’s unlikely fans will ever learn the full story behind what went wrong on Han Solo, and the best anyone can hope for is the spinoff is as entertaining and heartfelt as the franchise’s best offerings. Howard is grateful for the opportunity, having been a fan of the property since he saw A New Hope in theaters during its initial theatrical run. But even if Han Solo is a big hit, Lucasfilm will need to do a better job ironing out any kinks with their films during pre-production to avoid more PR disasters like this. If it’s true there were “deep fundamental philosophical differences in filmmaking styles,” then perhaps Lord and Miller were never the best fit from the beginning. This is a learning experience for all involved, and ideally the third Star Wars spinoff will move along without a hitch.
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