It's been revealed Ron Howard shot the same Solo: A Star Wars Story script as Phil Lord and Chris Miller when he took over directing duties on the film last summer. The second Star Wars anthology took a rather unprecedented path to the big screen when original helmsmen Lord and Miller were fired due to creative differences with Lucasfilm. Most alarming was the fact the duo was only three weeks away from wrapping principal photography. Howard was brought in a few days later and went right to work, but it wasn't just to finish what his predecessors had started. Per reports, he reshot "nearly all" of the spinoff during his time on set.
A huge sticking point in the Solo conversation is the script, written by Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon. One of the alleged reasons for Lord and Miller's dismissal is that the directors employed their improvisational style of filmmaking, which at times went against with what was originally written. Typically, reshoots happen on tentpoles after substantial rewrites during production, but this was the inverse of that. Howard was hired to stick to the screenplay, and it sounds like that's exactly what happened.
An unnamed actor who worked on Solo spoke to Vulture about the troubled production, sharing that there weren't any revisions to the script. Howard is working from the same material Lord and Miller were:
"It’s exactly the same script. They’re filming exactly the same things. There’s nothing new. [Lord and Miller] used whole sets. But Ron is just using parts from those sets. I guess they’re not shooting wide angle. Maybe to save money.”
As for why Lucasfilm would intentionally double Solo's budget to reshoot scenes that were already filmed, it's probably to ensure the movie has tonal consistency. Howard and Lord & Miller are great at what they do, but they're very different directors. When Lord and Miller were in charge, there were concerns they were making Solo too comedic for the studio's taste, so Kathleen Kennedy and crew most likely felt it would be better if they started from square one with a relatively clean slate. That way, the finished product isn't some kind of Frankenstein's monster a la Justice League's mashing of Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder. Fortunately, Lucasfilm/Disney has the resources to pull something like this off, especially since the first three Star Wars films of this era grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
There were some changes made to Solo after the director switch (Paul Bettany replacing Michael K. Williams as Dryden Vos), but they seem to be minor in the grand scheme of things. From the beginning, Lucasfilm was always happy with the way the Solo script turned out, so it's understandable why they would want to honor it as closely as they can. After all, this is Kasdan's Star Wars swan song, capping off a terrific run in the franchise that includes The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens. Accurately portraying Kasdan's vision for a character he helped mold across decades was a prominent goal of Solo.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019