After achieving much critical and commercial success with their Jump Street films and The LEGO Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller have become two of the hottest commodities in Hollywood. Anyone with a major franchise is eager to hand them the reins, as evidenced by the duo signing on to write an animated Spider-Man film for Sony and to direct the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film for Lucasfilm (among several other commitments).
Working with such iconic characters and properties can be a daunting task for anyone, as the production process becomes a tricky balancing act of serving up new material for fans while also honoring what came before. The good news for moviegoers is that Lord and Miller have a clear understanding of this and seem to be on the right track with their future endeavors, if their latest quotes on the projects are any indication.
Speaking with IGN, the two filmmakers offered updates on the Han Solo movie and their animated Spider-Man film. In regards to the former, they admitted that they are feeling the pressure of getting it "right," but are relishing in the opportunities presented and using that pressure as fuel for their creative vision:
It’s a huge pressure. We always try and find something that's gonna make us... give a fire to our bellies and do a really good job. And this feels like there’s a lot of pressure to not screw this up. So we’ve definitely got that motivation and then the rest of it is about trying to give audiences a fresh experience that doesn’t feel like you're just trying to check off some checklist of beats that you’re expecting and make something that feels new and exciting for people, but at the same time honoring what was so great about that character.
The pair's subsequent description of what makes Han Solo such a beloved character (see also) may also shed some light, on what to expect from their Star Wars Anthology film:
I could talk to you for a day about why he is the perfect blend of rogue-ish cowboy... Morally ambiguous, but has a clear moral compass. He’s funny, he’s off the cuff… When I was a kid on the playground, fights were about who got to play Han Solo. He’s just one of the best characters ever created.
As discussed on a recent episode of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, that Lucasfilm green lit a young Han Solo movie is an interesting development. Harrison Ford has become so synonymous with the role it's difficult to see anyone else piloting the Millennium Falcon, and he seemed to have a full character arc play out in the original Star Wars trilogy. Still, Lord and Miller have made a career out of defying expectations, so if anyone is going to turn a Han Solo origin tale (which could be predictable) into cinematic gold, it's most likely them.
In regards to the Spider-Man movie, we already know that the project will exist outside of the MCU and will be its own separate entity. However, little is known about its plot. While Lord and Miller couldn't reveal any juicy details, they did confirm what the film won't be: an origin story:
I can’t really talk too much about that project. Much like the Han Solo, it is shrouded in secrecy, so I can’t really talk about it. But I will say, it is not just another Peter Parker origin story that you’ve seen 400 times. It is something totally unique and different and not like anything you’ve seen. That’s all I can say… and you’re going to love it!
This news should be pleasing for Spider-Man fans, who have already been treated to two cinematic origin stories in the span of a decade. Much like Batman, Spider-Man's beginnings are well-known to the general public, so they aren't necessary beats to include in a movie about the character. From the sound of it, the old Web Head will have been swinging around New York for a while by the time we see him in the animated film, which has the potential for several compelling stories that are worth telling.
The Han Solo Anthology film will hit theaters May 25, 2018.
We'll keep you updated on the animated Spider-Man film.