Phil Lord and Chris Miller's impact on Solo: A Star Wars Story will still be felt, even though they are no longer directing. The pair was hired to helm the spinoff back in July 2015, but two years later (and four months into filming), they were shockingly fired due to creative differences with Lucasfilm. Many were alarmed by the unprecedented situation, feeling that it meant the spinoff was in tremendous trouble and beyond saving. New director Ron Howard tried to impart some damage control with his behind-the-scenes photos on Twitter, but people were still uneasy until more official marketing materials started to debut.
Howard officially took over in June 2017 and didn't wrap until October. By all accounts, he more or less called the shots on a second wave of principal photography, reshooting nearly 80 percent of the movie for double the budget. This caused some to believe Lord and Miller's vision for the project had been entirely erased, but that may not be the case. According to none other than Howard himself, viewers will still notice the LEGO Movie duo's touches.
While speaking with EW, Howard elaborated on the unusual circumstances that saw him come aboard Solo. As a fan of Lord and Miller, the decision was difficult for Howard, but he hopes when the movie opens, this conversation is in the rearview mirror:
“It’s disappointing that any company ever feels like they have to make a change like that. It’s rough on everybody and disappointing for everybody, and I’ve just tried to come in and — of course, Phil and Chris’s fingerprints are all over the movie, given how much they put into it and the time they put into it. I hope fans won’t even think about how the movie was made. They should just lose themselves in it.”
Howard didn't reveal how much of Solo is him compared to Lord and Miller, but it won't be hard to spot the duo's influence on the project. They handled all of the pre-production responsibilities, including overseeing the "audition pentathlon" that saw Alden Ehrenreich beat out 2,500 competitors for the main role. DGA rules will prevent Lord and Miller from getting official credit on the crew, but it would be nice if they were given special thanks for recognition of their hard work. Kennedy remains complimentary of Lord and Miller's talent, calling the incident "one of those unfortunate things." It's something she understandably doesn't like talking about, but from the sound of things, there's no bad blood between the various parties. Kennedy, Howard, and the rest should definitely appreciate what Lord and Miller did preparing Solo.
As for Lord and Miller, their careers seem to be just fine. They're currently involved with the making of The LEGO Movie Sequel and were reportedly in talks to direct the sci-fi film Artemis (the protagonist of which, coincidentally, reads as a gender-swapped Han Solo). As the dust settles on this tumultuous journey, the two are hoping to become better filmmakers and learn from the experience. Their track record has been pretty stellar so far, meaning whatever they do in the future will be something to look out for.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019