During Solo: A Star Wars Story reshoots, Ron Howard made some significant changes to the Kessel Run. The action sequence is arguably one of the film's standout moments, giving context to one of Han's most famous boasts from the original trilogy. More than forty years after the smuggler bragged about completing the run in less than 12 parsecs, audiences finally got an opportunity to see it play out on the big screen, and the results were very exciting. It was more than just a bit of fan service, as the Kessel Run connects to the ticking time bomb element of the Coaxium.
Howard, of course, joined Solo under unusual circumstances after original directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller were fired. This meant that a majority of the movie was already in place by the time Howard became involved. Still, for all the talk about how it was necessary to stick to Lawrence and Jon Kasdan's script, there were some changes made to the film. Chief among them were alterations to the Kessel Run.
In an interview with Empire, Howard talked about how the sequence evolved once he got his hands on it. As it turns out, elements like the tentacle monster (which is officially known as the summa-verminoth) and using a bit of the Coaxium in the escape were late additions Howard oversaw:
The monster wasn't around when I arrived. It was a new addition. There were a lot of the elements of the Kessel Run that were scripted and already previs-ed and so forth, but there was a lot of ongoing evolution of the story. Even using the Coaxium as a factor in the ultimate escape was something that just evolved through this incredible process […] I was in and out of the Falcon three times shooting new versions to facilitate new fun ideas that we were getting about the sequence.
From the sound of things, the Empire might have played a larger role in the Kessel Run than they did in the final film. Originally, the ejection of the Millennium Falcon's escape pod was done to distract TIE fighters, not the summa-verminoth. It's hard to argue against these changes, as they made the run a more dynamic and visually-interesting sequence. We've seen the Falcon fly away from TIEs several times before, so a space monster provided a different kind of threat. After all, Han told Luke he'd seen a lot of strange stuff in his travels, and the summa-verminoth certainly fits that bill. Plus, giving the Falcon a boost with the Coaxium gave Beckett something to do while the other characters focused on their own tasks.
Howard seemed to benefit Solo as a whole, crafting a fun original trilogy complement that harkened back to the traditional spirit of Star Wars. Unfortunately, the spinoff is the first in the franchise to lose money thanks to an underwhelming box office performance, but that can't be entirely held against Howard, who came in and did an exemplary job all things considered. He may have never worked on a film of this scale, but he had a very clear vision of what he wanted.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019