Lucasfilm is currently searching for a new director on their young Han Solo movie after the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and one name that can be crossed off the list is Lawrence Kasdan. A veteran screenwriter who has long been involved with the Star Wars franchise (co-writing three saga episodes and Han Solo), Kasdan also has several directorial credits to his name including Best Picture nominee The Accidental Tourist. His extensive experience in the film industry (and particularly Lucasfilm franchises) led some to believe he'd be an apt choice to come in and complete the spinoff film. Just last night, Kasdan was among the possible candidates listed - along with Joe Johnston and Ron Howard.
The Han Solo fiasco is an unprecedented situation many are trying to make sense of, and one of the most pressing matters at hand is how the film follows the regulations of the Directors Guild (DGA). There are several things for everyone to keep in mind throughout the process, such as a strict rule that immediately takes Kasdan out of the running for the gig.
In a report by THR, it's mentioned the DGA forbids replacing departed directors with another member of the movie's creative team (unless there is an unforeseen emergency). Since Kasdan and his son Jon are the credited screenwriters, it means Lucasfilm cannot promote their frequent collaborator unless they're willing to blatantly disregard the DGA's practices. Star Wars fans may recall that George Lucas left the guild following controversy on The Empire Strikes Back, a decision that severely limited his options when looking for a Return of the Jedi helmsman. That was fine when Lucas was a maverick filmmaker crafting the original trilogy outside the Hollywood system, but Lucasfilm is a $4 billion Disney acquisition, so it's highly unlikely they violate the rules this time around.
Since Kasdan can only stay onboard as the writer, it remains to be seen who will become the new Han Solo director. Of the filmmakers being considered, Johnston would make a solid choice. He's been involved in the Lucasfilm family for decades, doing visual effects work on the original Star Wars trilogy. Johnston also has called the shots on fan-favorite films like The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger. That latter production drew heavy inspiration from the Indiana Jones films, which would be an ideal template for the Han Solo spinoff. Johnston also worked with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy on Jurassic Park III, so there's familiarity there as well. It's important to keep in mind these are just rumors for now, so it's hard to put too much stock in anything.
Once a replacement is found, Lucasfilm will have to sort through other aspects like who will receive directing credit on the finished film and the distribution of residuals. Conceivably, Lord and Miller could pull their names from the film and forego their royalties, but it remains to be seen if that will actually happen. One thing's for sure - this is a massive headache for the studio that they have to deal with as they try to get Han Solo completed for a May 2018 premiere. Fans will certainly be watching this situation closely, and the spinoff is under more scrutiny than it was when it was first announced two years ago.
- 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: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019