Ron Howard's work on Solo: A Star Wars Story reportedly involved reshooting just about the entire film, which may have doubled the tentpole's budget. Over the summer, Lucasfilm shocked the entertainment industry when they fired original Solo directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who were hired in 2015) after four months of filming due to creative differences. Shortly after, they hired Oscar-winner Howard to see the project across the finish line, and he's been the man in charge ever since. Boarding the Millennium Falcon back in June, the director recently wrapped up production - with just seven months to go until Solo's theatrical release.
During his time filming, Howard served as the damage control department by posting fun pictures from behind-the-scenes, offering his social media followers a small taste of what was going on. While these were successful in changing the conversation to the content of the film itself (rather than the drama surrounding it), some couldn't help but realize Howard wasn't simply finishing what Lord and Miller started. As filming went on for a while, it became apparent there was considerable retooling going on. Now, any issues about who will receive director credit are a thing of the past.
On the latest episode of Star Wars News Net's The Resistance Broadcast, it is revealed from inside sources Howard reshot "nearly all" of Solo, for possibly "twice the budget." The estimate that at least 80 percent of the spinoff was reshot under Howard's watch, which comes as a bit of a shock since there were allegedly a few weeks left in principal photography when Lord and Miller were dismissed. The duo's footage was said to be "very usable" at the time, but apparently Lucasfilm is opting to leave it all in the vault.
There are a couple of ways to read this development. On one hand, it's arguably for the best Solo will not be a Frankenstein's monster of contrasting styles. Lord & Miller and Howard are great at what they do, but for very different reasons. That the anthology will ultimately go down as a "Ron Howard film" and not a mishmash means it should be tonally consistent and have a clear vision behind it. However, Solo probably could have benefitted from a less traditional filmmaking approach. Several of the plot points revealed by Disney CEO Bob Iger (Han meets Chewbacca for the first time, Han wins the Falcon) read as low-hanging fruit, and the self-aware sensibilities of Lord and Miller may have been able to put a creative spin on those beats. Howard, by contrast, is a more classically Hollywood director - known best for straightforward dramas like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. There's no denying he has talent behind the camera, but some might fear what this means for Solo in the long run.
Other than completely erasing Lord and Miller's input, the other concern here is the increased budget for Solo, as Star Wars films are never cheap propositions. The Force Awakens' reported production costs were $245 million, while Rogue One (which went through its own issues) sported a price tag of an even $200 million. Solo was likely going to be in that range even if everything went smoothly, so it will be interesting to see what the budget ends up being. There will be pressure on the spinoff to perform well at the box office, and while Star Wars is always a commercial lock, Solo is set to face stiff competition in the summer, so time will tell if it crosses $1 billion like its predecessors.
Source: The Resistance Broadcast
- 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