A letter from new Han Solo director Ron Howard has resurfaced in which the Oscar winner defends The Phantom Menace and child actor Jake Lloyd's performance as young Anakin Skywalker. The year is not quite half over and the entertainment industry is dealing with two highly-publicized changing of the guards. Aside from Joss Whedon stepping in to finish Zack Synder's Justice League—albeit on amicable terms—the news cycle for the past week has been transfixed on the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the next Star Wars spinoff. While there's still a year to go before the movie releases, it was four months into shooting when the pair were ousted and replaced by Ron Howard.
For some, it indicates that the movie may be more hopeful and less comedic. For others, it's a worrying sign that Lucasfilm don't have a handle on the Han Solo movie. Aside from the questions of leadership, many are also wondering if Howard's skills will translate to a movie about a roguish smuggler. That said, he's a veteran filmmaker and will be deftly guided by the Lucasfilm team. He's also no stranger to blockbusters and will likely be respectful to the universe. Of course, he may be too admiring of the Star Wars pantheon for some.
A Twitter user tweeted out a letter Ron Howard wrote back in 1999 to Newsweek in response to a piece they wrote about the then-unreleased The Phantom Menace. In the article, which you can read here, the writer compiled various rumors about the production of the film ahead of its release, and specifically mocked young actor Jake Lloyd for his performance. The bulk of Howard's letter took umbrage with the treatment of the performer, which he deemed to be exemplary. He also states how good he thinks the film is overall. Check out the full letter below:
— Thomas Storaï (@ThomasStorai) June 23, 2017
While most fans agree Lloyd's performance was an issue, it's not hard to agree with Howard's anger over attacking the child actor. Then again, the article was meant to present the word of insiders, not the publication or author itself. As for Howard's assertions that both Lloyd and the film were fantastic, that might not sit well with certain circles of the fan base. Though reception for the prequels has changed over the years, Howard's admiration may make some feel uneasy about him taking over one of the new anthology films. Of course, Howard is an award-winning director who is more than capable of delivering a quality production, regardless of his tastes in film. Movies, after all, are subjective.
Ironically, Howard himself may also have issues with a problematic performer. Echoing what happened 20 years ago, insiders are reporting that Lucasfilm aren't pleased with Alden Ehrenreich’s performance so far. It would be surreal for Howard to find himself in charge of a situation like the one he defended all those years ago.
Of course, with prequel loving Howard at the helm, perhaps Jar Jar Binks could make a cameo in Han Solo. At this point, it wouldn't be the strangest development in this story.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019