Ron Howard was reluctant to direct Solo: A Star Wars Story at first, but he ultimately decided that he could help Lucasfilm out. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who are perhaps mostly widely recognized for writing and directing The LEGO Movie, initially signed on with Lucasfilm to tell Han Solo's origin story on the big screen, based on a script from legendary Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens) and his son, Jon Kasdan (The First Time).
Unfortunately, Lord and Miller very publicly exited the project with only three weeks of filming left on the docket due to creative differences with Lucasfilm. As it turns out, the directing duo went off-script quite a bit and made Solo more comedic than Lucasfilm wanted, whereas they were hoping for a more grounded approach. And so, both parties went separate ways, with Howard eventually climbing aboard and finishing off the film. It took only two days for Howard to agree to direct Solo: A Star Wars Story and only four more days to arrive on set and start filming. While it seems like Howard jumped at the opportunity to direct Solo, he was actually quite hesitant at first.
In an interview with EW, Ron Howard says he was reluctant to accept the job because he hadn't planned on directing anything in 2017, let alone a major blockbuster film and especially at the 11th hour with an accelerated production schedule than he's probably used to. Then again, he wanted to help his friends at Lucasfilm.
“I know Chris and Phil. They’re incredibly talented guys, and all anyone at Imagine Entertainment wants to do is find a way to work with Chris and Phil, and that’s every bit as much the case today as ever. But when I learned that this change was happening, it just came in a moment where I was working on lots of new projects for Imagine, and I had not planned to direct anything last year. So then this came my way, and I was talking to Kathy, and the now tragically late Alli Shearmur, an old friend. I was reluctant, but I also began to feel that I could help.”
Howard joined Solo: A Star Wars Story in June 2017, and he reshot much more of Solo than he expected, which is why principal photography didn't wrap until October - four months later and only seven months prior to the film's scheduled release date. Still, Howard is also reluctant to reveal just how much of Solo is his and how much is Lord and Miller's. Given that everyone involved with the project wanted to deliver the best Han Solo movie possible, it makes sense that he wouldn't want his reshot scenes to drive the narrative but rather let the final cut of the film - which does include at least some of Lord and Miller's scenes - speak for itself.
On a side note, it's interesting that Howard decided to direct Solo: A Star Wars Story considering that he refused George Lucas' offer for him to direct Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, as did many other directors who felt they weren't up to the task of following the original trilogy.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019