Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directors of The Lego Movie, were fired from their duties as directors of the standalone Han Solo Star Wars anthology film. Kathleen Kennedy, producer and overseer of the Star Wars universe, fired the pair over creative differences between the directors, and Kennedy and writer-producer Lawrence Kasdan. The firing comes after Rogue One director Gareth Edwards was reportedly relieved from some/all of his duties in post-production and reshoots on that film.
What’s happening at Star Wars seems to be fully in the hands of Ms. Kennedy. So far, the films have satisfied critics and audiences, but the creative disputes are certainly noteworthy.
Only two days after Lord and Miller’s firing, veteran director of A Beautiful Mind, Ron Howard, was named as the new director of the as yet untitled Han Solo film.
Ron Howard, an actor who became a filmmaker and Oscar winning critical darling, is no stranger to space, having directed Apollo 13. Howard is a professional with decades of directing experience, and accolades under his belt. He won Best Picture and Director for A Beautiful Mind, and was nominated for both a few years later with Frost/Nixon. His steadiness is likely one of the reasons Kennedy brought him onto the project at this very late stage.
Undeniably, though, the past 10 years have been hard for Howard. H’es made a string of financial disappointments and critical flops, including the big-budget, star-lead In the Heart of the Sea. Maybe Han Solo will help revive Howard’s career. After being directed by George Lucas in American Graffiti and directing Willow for Lucasfilm, Ron Howard may be ready to relive his early days in the movies. Perhaps this will bode well for Star Wars fans. Guess we’ll see.