Ron Howard will step into the director’s chair for Disney’s Han Solo anthology film, replacing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who departed the project earlier this week due to “creative differences.” Word came just yesterday that the mastermind behind A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 was in the running for the job, and it looks like he’s beaten Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) for the position.
Howard will pick up where Lord and Miller left off, with a reported three and a half weeks of shooting left and a planned five weeks of reshoots. Lord and Miller clashed stylistically and tonally with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, the Star Wars legend who also wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and was considered for the director role as well. The studio backed Kasdan, and the directing duo dropped out.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Howard will first meet with the film’s actors — including Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Emilia Clarke — to reassure them before heading to set. He’ll also have to look over four weeks of already shot footage and a rough edit to figure out what he needs to do when production resumes on July 10th.
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy in a statement. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie.”
Howard makes a lot of sense as a replacement. He has heaps of big-budget experience; has worked in franchises, having directed all the Robert Langdon films; and is a famously relaxed presence on set. That’s just the type of mind and leader Disney could use after their industry-shocking shakeup.
Currently untitled, the Han Solo flick is set for a May 25th, 2018. Hopefully the swift replacement process allows the studio to still hit that mark.