Ron Howard, the new director of the young Han Solo spinoff movie, reveals he is thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of the Star Wars franchise. It’s been a whirlwind week for the project, which lost original helmsmen Phil Lord and Chris Miller after creative differences between them and Lucasfilm reached a tipping point. Since the studio remains committed to releasing Han Solo in May 2018, they had to move quickly to find a replacement and tapped the Apollo 13 director just a couple days later. Howard will now travel to the set to meet with the cast and crew, with the plan to resume filming on July 10.
In his storied career, Howard has been involved with a few Lucasfilm projects. Of course, he was one of the stars in George Lucas’ own American Graffiti and directed 1988’s Willow for the studio. When Lucas was developing the prequels, he even offered the Episode I job to Howard, but obviously the Oscar winner passed on the chance. Now, nearly 20 years later, the galaxy far, far away came knocking on Howard’s door again, and he’s ready to take charge.
While at Cannes Lions (via Deadline), Howard briefly touched on the opportunity to finish work on the anthology film, mentioning how several of the people involved with Star Wars are friends with a long history together:
“So many people involved with the Star Wars franchise are friends, so it’s gratifying to be able to lend my voice to the universe — coming in when it’s already been in production and there is a great amount of work done.”
Besides his professional experiences with Lucasfilm, Howard is also a fan of Star Wars. During his talk, he recalled the first time he saw A New Hope in 1977, saying he and his wife were “so moved by the movie.” He felt the space opera represented “all the things you dream you’re going to experience” when one goes to the theater. Like his fellow Disney-era Star Wars directors, Howard was clearly impacted by the spectacle and grand story, so he understands what made the movies connect with millions around the world. In the press release confirming Howard’s involvement, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said she wants to new films to “delight” audiences, and Howard is certainly capable of delivering a crowd-pleasing film in that vein. It’s true he’s had a rough couple of years with Inferno and In the Heart of the Sea disappointing, but anyone can have a comeback.
Before this fiasco happened, it was expected Han Solo would have a presence at next month’s D23 (with the official title and other details being revealed), but it remains to be seen if that changes now. Howard will be in the middle of shooting when the expo is ongoing, and right now it’s more important to make sure the film itself is on the right track instead of bringing everyone to a convention stage. Nevertheless, Lucasfilm is going to have to do some damage control to divert attention, which is probably why a new The Last Jedi trailer is coming through the pipeline and an announcement on the third spinoff film is imminent. Expect Episode VIII, which many are optimistic about, to receive a big push now.
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