Solo A Star Wars Story has been littered with director firings, actor changes, story adjustments, and more. The last time we saw something like this we got WB’s disastrous Justice League film.
Even if Solo isn’t the best Star Wars film ever made, it can’t be as big of a train wreck as Justice League, right? Director Ron Howard took over the reigns of the film late in the game from Lego Movie‘s Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Solo is the second of films in Lucasfilm’s A Star Wars Story series of films set outside of the episodic films. Solo is stand-alone installment set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it explores the adventures of younger versions of Han Solo and Chewbacca, who also meet a young Lando Calrissian. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany.
On June 20, 2017, citing “creative differences”, Lucasfilm and Lord and Miller jointly announced their intent to part ways, with a new director “to be announced soon”. It was reported that the directors were fired after Kennedy and Kasdan disagreed with their shooting style; Lord and Miller believed they were hired to make a comedy film, while Lucasfilm was looking for the duo to add “a comedic touch” to the space fantasy. Lucasfilm also felt that the directors were encouraging too much improvisation from the actors, which was believed to be “shifting the story off-course” from the Kasdans’ script. To appease Kasdan, who was unhappy with scenes not being filmed “word for word… Lord and Miller would do several takes exactly as written and then shoot additional takes.” Lord and Miller refused to compromise on the way to approach certain scenes, such as filming a scene from fewer angles than what Lucasfilm was expecting reducing the options available in editing, leading to a strained relationship with Lucasfilm. The duo was also unhappy when Kasdan was brought to the London set, feeling he became a “shadow director”. The decision to remove Lord and Miller from the project was made after a short hiatus in filming taken to review the footage. Additional weeks of filming had been planned.
It was reported that Star Wars creator George Lucas‘ close friend Ron Howard, who previously had turned down an offer from Lucas himself to direct Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, was a frontrunner to step in as director. Joe Johnston and Kasdan were also being considered, though Directors Guild of America rules state that a replacement for a director may not be someone already involved in the production. Two days later, it was announced that Howard would take over directing duties for the remaining three-and-a-half weeks of scheduled principal photography as well as the scheduled five weeks of reshoots. On being hired, Howard wrote, “I’m beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe… I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.” Howard was expected to arrive in London on June 26 to complete filming. During the film’s reshoots, actor Michael K. Williams was unable to return to the production, due to a schedule conflict with filming The Red Sea Diving Resort, resulting in his part being cut. Williams stated the reshoots for his character were “to match the new direction which the producers wanted Ron to carry the film in”, and that he would not have been available again until November 2017, and the production did not want to wait for his availability in order to still be able to release in May 2018.
Here is a synopsis of Solo A Star Wars Story: