Ron Howard and company held a wrap party for Young Han Solo over the weekend, even though the Star Wars anthology film has not officially wrapped shooting. Howard took over the reins as Young Han Solo director from the dismissed Phil Lord and Christopher Miller back in late June, and has now been cranking out footage - and sending out spoiler-free teasers from the set - for over three months.
When Howard was first named as director, it was reported that much of Lord and Miller's footage was "usable," leading to the belief that Howard would mostly be undertaking reshoots. But the "reshoot" period has now become so protracted that many believe Howard has essentially remade the entire film. In recent weeks, Howard has bid farewell to several of the movie's cast members, including Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and Paul Bettany (who perhaps replaced Michael K. Williams after he was unable to return for reshoots), suggesting that things should be wrapping up soon. Nevertheless, shooting continues on the movie, with main cast members Alden Ehrenreich and Woody Harrelson apparently still on-set.
With shooting still on-going, Ron Howard and his crew reportedly held a wrap party over the weekend with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy in attendance (via Mashable). A stunt actor who was in attendance at the party posted on Facebook that the event was "premature," suggesting that the movie still has a fair way to go before all the needed footage is in the can. Howard himself tweeted on Sunday that shooting is "almost finished" but reminded fans that next comes a long post-production process.
Ever since Lord and Miller were dismissed, Young Han Solo has existed under a dark cloud of speculation, with many uttering dire predictions about the film's ultimate prospects. Foremost among people's concerns is the performance of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, especially after it was reported that Ehrenreich needed extra coaching on-set. The hiring of Ron Howard, a veteran director with many big hits under his belt, was supposed to help tamp down some of the negative talk swirling around the project but even with Howard seemingly getting things together, the outlook has continued to be bleak in some people's minds.
The fact that the movie has now gone significantly over-schedule and presumably also way over-budget will not help relieve the sense that this is a doomed production. However, it bears remembering that there have been lots of Hollywood films over the years that went through tortured productions and still turned out to be great and successful movies. One need only read a book about the absurd circumstances around Gone With the Wind - which cost a ton of money, went through multiple directors and never had a locked-in script - to realize that a movie can be a total beast to make and still end up as a classic.
Young Han Solo may look from afar like a very troubled production that is headed toward being a disastrous movie, but there's still a very good chance that it could turn out to be a good movie. The fact that Lucasfilm has been willing to make the changes they've made, and spend the money they've spent, shows that they're committed to making sure Young Han Solo is a worthy addition to the Star Wars universe. The final proof will be in the finished movie Ron Howard ultimately delivers.
- 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