Harrison Ford's successor to Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich, is officially defending Solo: A Story Wars Story's original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The two directors were replaced by Academy Award winner Ron Howard back in June 2017, but Ehrenreich was a fan of the role they played.
Just a month before Solo: A Story Wars Story hits theaters, Ehrenreich has detailed his experience with the film's original directing duo. Just months before production officially wrapped on the second Star Wars spinoff following Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, Lord and Miller were fired from the film. Though most of the film had already been shot, they were replaced by Howard, who will ultimately receive the official directing credit, with Lord and Miller settling on executive producer credits. The Han Solo origin story also stars Donald Glover as a younger Lando Calrissian and Joonas Suotamo as a younger Chewbacca, with Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, and Paul Bettany rounding out the cast.
In an interview with Esquire, Ehrenreich explained that the original directors were playful, bringing a very unique style of directing to the film than that of Howard's more classically-trained technique. Similar to the way most comedies are filmed, Lord and Miller's Solo was directed with a general focus on improv, referring to both the actors and the directors themselves. Having "tried a lot of different things, rethinking behind the scenes," Ehrenreich stated that their style didn't jive well with what "the other factions wanted," referring to the studio execs. That said, Ehrenreich still enjoyed working with them, shooting down rumors that the cast and crew literally applauded the news that Lord and Miller had been fired. He said, "For a crew to do that would mean they hated [Lord and Miller], which was not by any stretch the case," adding that the day they told him they had been fired, it was an emotional experience:
"On a personal level, it felt emotional, for them to be going after we’d set out on that course together. Because I spent a lot of time with them, and we had a really good relationship."
After Lord and Miller had been fired from production, rumors were circulating that insinuated Ehrenreich himself had championed their removal - but this wasn't the case at all. He clarified that everything that happened behind the scenes was foreign to him and the rest of the cast, explaining that "the actors are at the kids’ table, unless you’re also a producer of the movie. So you’re really kept out of all the backroom dynamics of what was going on." That said, despite the emotional impact that Lord and Miller's removal created, he was happy to praise Howard's inclusion on the film. Howard had entered production when roughly 80 percent of the film was already complete, but still managed to get everyone "excited about the movie again." Ehrenreich explained that Howard was actually happy with most of what had already been shot, so his job had more to do with capping things off and making a smooth transition to completion rather than start from scratch and abandon Lord and Miller's original vision.
Behind-the-scenes drama rarely registers as good news on a movie set - especially one as highly-anticipated as Solo - but Lucasfilm may well have made the right move in firing Lord and Miller. It's an unpopular opinion, but considering the fact that they have the weight of the entire Star Wars fanbase breathing down their necks, major changes for the sake of perfection is admirable. Howard may not have the same youthful knack for invention as Lord and Miller, but a man with as much cinematic esteem as Howard at least deserves a shot (even though, per Han Solo lore, the original directors shot first).
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019