Ron Howard says the young Han Solo film is “coming along great” in perhaps his biggest update on the production since he took over as director. There was a massive disturbance in the Force in June with the sudden exit of co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Star Wars anthology film, and Howard took the helm shortly thereafter to finish up filming.
Since then, Howard has remained pretty tight-lipped about his work on the film, at first tweeting out mostly inconsequential details from the production including a photo of his feet near a stack of water bottles on the set, as well another photo from the film’s editing room. In more recent social media posts, the director has been a bit more revealing, with teaser photos of some of the movie’s costumes, as well as a photo featuring Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian on his director’s monitor.
With only bits of visual evidence of his work on the film here and there, Howard really hasn’t really spoken much about Han Solo until Tuesday, when he brought THR up to speed on the progress of the production. In addition to telling the publication that the film is “coming along great,” Howard said:
“It’s a fantastic script, a great cast and I am having a fantastic creative experience with it … (the film) came with great characters, a great script and actors who inhabit those characters. It’s a great young cast, incredibly strong — smart, funny people who love their characters and love being part of this. I think we’ll be able to do something that is a lot of fun.”
While Howard naturally didn’t spill any major details specifically about the production or the progress by leads like Alden Ehrenreich and Glover, perhaps the key word in his remarks is “script.” One of the reported reasons for the dismissal of Lord and Miller, after all, was Lucasfilm vet and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan’s displeasure with the creative liberties the directing duo was taking by allowing the actors to improvise their lines. But with Howard on board, clearly there’s a mandate that the veteran helmer honor his screenwriter’s wishes and stick closely to the original written word.
There’s no denying that despite walking into a less-than-ideal situation to make a film, Howard seems very enthusiastic about the Han Solo film and its prospects. A veteran filmmaker with a Best Director Oscar on his mantle, there’s no doubt Howard knows talent when he sees it, so his words should be taken by fans to be a positive thing (that, on top of reports that the footage shot by Lord and Miller is “very usable,” and that Disney licensees were “impressed” with a sizzle reel of footage of the film at a presentation earlier this summer).
How much Han Solo will end up feeling like a Howard film versus a Lord and Miller film, of course, is yet to be seen. True, Howard said he had “smart, funny people” on the film, so does that mean he’s taking advantage of those skills in the sequences he’s directing, or referring to the existing footage? Considering that one of the causes of the rift between Lucasfilm and Lord/Miller their direction was too comedic for a Star Wars film, it’s doubtful that Howard was brought in to simply pick up where the co-directors left off. With any luck, the next time Howard speaks about the film, he’ll give fans an idea of what direction he’s taking creatively.
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