With Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story breathing new life into the Star Wars saga, fans have come to believe that there is nothing the massive sci-fi franchise can do wrong. Naturally, fans have grown heavily excited for the upcoming Han Solo movie, which is poised to become another blockbuster hit. But perhaps everyone spoke too soon, as recent reports now reveal what appears to be chaos in the middle of the film’s production.
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, whose claims to fame include 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, were recently fired from directing the Han Solo movie. According to StarWars.com, “creative differences” were cited as the primary reason for the split. Although directors naturally come and go in a movie project, what made Lord and Miller’s exit unusual was the fact that they did so just a few weeks before principal photography wraps up.
Industry insiders, however, believe that there was more to the duo’s premature termination from the project. There have been reports that they were fired by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, who was reportedly unhappy with the direction Lord and Miller were taking the film.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Lord and Miller, known for subscribing to a particular cinematic style that isn’t normally compatible with big-budget movie universes, only used three variations of camera placement. Kennedy, on the other hand, expected them to utilize 12 to 15. Kennedy was also said to be displeased by how slow shooting was taking and how the limited camera angles didn’t allow for many editing options.
Moreover, it wasn’t just Kennedy who was disappointed with where things were going. Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan also wasn’t satisfied with the film’s progress.
As for Lord and Miller’s part, a source close to the situation said the directors felt they were given “zero creative freedom” and that they were asked to work under “extreme scheduling constraints.”
It was Miller and Lord’s refusal to comply with Kennedy and Kasdan’s rule book that ultimately led to their dismissal from the star-studded project.
However, the problem seemed to be endless for the highly anticipated Han Solo outing. It was also reported that Lucasfilm wasn’t confident with how lead star Alden Ehrenreich was portraying the young Han Solo.
Prior to Lord and Miller’s exit, they enlisted writer-director Maggie Kiley to be Ehrenreich’s acting coach and whip his performance into shape. Although hiring an acting coach is normal for productions, hiring one late into production has made critics question what’s going on with the film.
A Star Wars fansite reported that Ehrenreich’s performance as young Han Solo was comparable to Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.
“Ehrenreich let his concerns be known to one of the producers, who then told Kennedy about it, which led to her decision to look over the existing footage,” the source said.
Thankfully, with a bit of retooling, Lucasfilm is now very happy with Ehrenreich’s portrayal, which is said to be “an interesting new take on Han that stands out on its own while still honoring the essentials of the character.”
Following the panic that ensued after news of problems with the Han Solo movie surfaced, Disney CEO Bob Iger stepped in to assure fans that the Force is still with the film.
“First of all, we have a great cast, we have a great script and we have a great director. It’s gonna be fine. I’m very excited.”
As for the “great director” Iger was referring to, it’s Apollo 13 director Ron Howard, who took over the film after Lord and Miller disembarked from the ship.
The Han Solo movie has a tentative release date of May 25, 2018.
[Featured Image by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]