Ex-Han Solo directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller could still be entitled to a director's cut of the movie – should they qualify – thanks to a Directors Guild of America loophole. It's been a momentous week in the Star Wars universe, starting with the shocking announcement Tuesday that Lord and Miller were let go from directing the young Han Solo film. The parting was due to reported friction between the co-directors and veteran Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan – who co-wrote the screenplay with his son, Jon Kasdan – over the tone of the movie; and producer Kathleen Kennedy lowered the boom in a statement saying that Lucasfilm and Disney parted ways with Lord and Miller over "creative differences."
Thankfully for the production, Oscar-winning director and Lucasfilm alum Ron Howard was available to replace Lord and Miller at the helm and was hired on Thursday, since Lawrence Kasdan, who was one of the replacements considered for the duo, was deemed ineligible because of a DGA regulation. According to the guild, people who are already working on a film cannot replace a director except for short-term emergency situations.
Related: Ron Howard Thankful for Han Solo
In a new development, it appears another DGA rule could affect the young Han Solo movie in a much different way. Citing a DGA loophoole, The Wrap says that Lord and Miller could force Disney and Lucasfilm to cut their own version of the film so long as they completed 90 percent of principle photography. Here's an excerpt from the union rule:
“A director who is replaced after directing ninety percent (90 percent) but less than one hundred percent (100 percent) of the scheduled principal photography of any motion picture shall be the Director of the film entitled to all the post-production creative rights set forth."
Furthermore, it appears that nobody would be able to toss up roadblocks in front of Lord and Miller should they qualify to do a director's cut. DGA rules say:
“No one shall be allowed to interfere with the director of the film during the period of the Director’s Cut. There shall be no ‘cutting behind’ the Director as that term is commonly understood in the motion picture industry.”
Of course, even if in the longest of shots that Lord and Miller were to qualify, apparently all of their efforts would be for naught. According to The Wrap, if the filmmaking duo were allowed to do their own cut of the film, Disney would be under no obligation to distribute it.
Since Lord and Miller began shooting the film in February and completed four months of work on the production, it's conceivable that a large chunk of principal photography was completed - but it's unlikely they hit the 90 percent mark since there was reportedly three weeks left of shooting. When Howard picks up on the production in a couple weeks in London, he'll have those three weeks to shoot remaining footage, plus have another five weeks for reshoots, which was previously budgeted into the production. In addition, Howard will have to sort out what footage Lord and Miller have already shot.
The bottom line is, fans shouldn't get their hopes up for a more comedic, improvisational-infused Han Solo tale, which was reportedly one of the sticking points between the co-directors and Kasdan (who reportedly insists directors he works with stick closely to the script). If it is indeed true that there was friction over Lord and Miller's creative decisions from the very start of the production, you have to believe Disney and Lucasfilm took the proper amount of time for due diligence on all DGA matters, and as a result gave their original directors the hook well before they completed 90 percent of principle photography.
It's interesting nonetheless to hear of such loopholes in the director's union, showing that DGA accounts for more than just handing out awards every spring. If anything, the young Han Solo fiasco serves as a cautionary tale for studios to always keep their eyes on the ball, especially when something as monolithic as a film in the Star Wars franchise is at stake.
Source: The Wrap
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019