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Ron Howard Interview - Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Ron Howard is an American actor and filmmaker. In his youth, he was most known for his roles in television sitcoms before transitioning into filmmaking. Ron Howard has filmed spanning across genres like the sci-fi fantasy Cocoon, the biographical drama A Beautiful Mind, and the thriller The Da Vinci Code. His next project is Solo: A Star Wars Story, which premieres in theaters on May 25, 2018.

Screen Rant got a chance to chat with director Ron Howard on press day, where we discussed how much practical effects were used in the film, how long the director has wanted to do a Star Wars film, and where he can see Han Solo going next.

SR: So much fun. This movie is so much fun. I thought it was brilliant. It’s a great heist movie. One thing that I noticed right away was it seemed like everything was practical.

Ron Howard: Well, there is a lot that is practical and, of course, there is digital extensions and a lot of great visual effects work coming out of ILM, but as much of this is tactile and accessible to the actors as possible because, you know, I really wanted this movie to feel as grounded as possible. And that’s sort of the way they approach these movies, Lucasfilm, and I think it makes a lot of sense.

SR: Yeah. Now you worked with George a long time ago on Willow, which is one of my favorite movies.

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Ron Howard: Yeah. Even longer going with American Graffiti.

SR: American Graffiti, yeah. With that being said, how long have you been wanting to do a Star Wars movie?

Ron Howard: Well, you know what, to be honest I haven’t really wanted to do a Star Wars movie.

SR: Really?

Ron Howard: No. I love them. I admire them. I appreciate them as a fan, but I’ve always been so busy with everything going on with Imagine Entertainment and I also always felt like that was a huge massive commitment and a real high wire act. But, you know, there was something liberating about the circumstance of coming in. Creative differences with Phil and Chris with Lucasfilm and Disney, unfortunate as hell. Once I knew they were going to make a change and I read this script, I thought well I never wanted to do it, but I’m friends with Kathleen Kennedy. I’m friends with George. I’m friends with the late Alli Shearmur. I love this story. I get it. There are great elements here. Maybe I’ll just, what the hell? Maybe I’ll just throw myself into it. And, you know, I kind of did it as this professional adventure and I wound up really falling in love with it because I love the cast and I love the creative spirit around making these movies. It was also a lot of fun to engage in a movie that is aggressively trying to entertain the audience and transport the audience and it was muscles that I hadn’t used in awhile and I really enjoyed it.

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SR: There’s a lot of Star Wars universe deep cuts in this film like Quorra’s fighting style, which is a deep cut from a video game and stuff with the Clone Wars. Now, one question that I wanted to know to clear it up was, when Chewbacca sets the other Wookies free, was one of them Malla from the Holiday Special?

Ron Howard: I’m going to actually say no. I’m going to try not to give away any spoilers, but I’m going to actually say no. No.

SR: It’s not Malla in it.

Ron Howard: No, it’s not Malla.

SR: Fair enough. You obviously fell in love working on this Star Wars film. Does that make you want to come back and do another one possibly?

Ron Howard: I certainly would be open to it. I think the fans define pretty much all of this and I think we are all waiting to see how the fans feel about this movie and I think that will define a lot of it. I’ve got a lot of interesting projects at Imagine. That’s my home base with my partner Brian Grazer. But this has been a great creative experience and, if the opportunity were to present itself and make sense, I would be hard pressed not to.

SR: So just out of curiosity where would you like to see Han go to next?

Ron Howard: Well, there are so many possibilities and, you know, it’s kind of one of those things where we’re sitting around, waiting for those shots. Although, with Bradford Young, there’s not a lot of time. He moves fast. He’s an indie guy. And, so we were able to make this movie at a pace but, once he began to see the possibilities for scenes and ideas. So, I don’t have a big vision as to where the plot would go, even though ultimately we know where he’s headed and it would be intriguing to navigate him there. I think what I like so much about this script was that it answered a lot of questions that a fan would have about young Han. You know, what are some of the events or relationships that might have shaped the iconic version that we know from later movies, but he does it in ways that make sense. They are satisfying, but surprising. So, I think that ought to be the litmus test for anything going forward, which is can you head in a direction that feels right and authentic and do it in a surprising way.

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MORE: Alden Ehrenreich Interview for Solo: A Star Wars Story

Key Release Dates
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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