Last week directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the “Han Solo” film with just three weeks left of filming (along with a further five weeks or reshoots later this year). Within two days Ron Howard was quickly brought in as their replacement.
Director’s being replaced on films is hardly unheard of, what’s odd in this case is the lateness of it – that things had progressed so far before the change happened. This weekend, The Wrap reports that lateness may allow for unexpected result – that the pair may get to edit their own ‘Director’s Cut’ of the film.
The site says the Director’s Guild, the union that protects the rights of directors, has a little-known loophole within its rules suggesting this possibility:
“A director who is replaced after directing ninety percent (90 percent) but less than one hundred percent (100 percent) of the scheduled principal photography of any motion picture shall be the Director of the film entitled to all the post-production creative rights set forth.”
Additionally, should the requirements be met, then no one is allowed to ‘interfere’ with the director while they create their Director’s Cut.
Disney though would be under no obligation to put that cut in theaters. It’s unknown if the pair had completed 90% of the movie before they were let go, or if as part of their exit package they signed a deal which prevents the possibility.
In a separate report, Star Wars News Net is claiming that the film’s star, Alden Ehrenrich, had voiced his concerns about the direction that Lord and Miller were taking the character. Their source says:
“Ehrenreich had concerns with the production as filming progressed, he started to worry that Lord and Miller’s screwball comedy angle was starting to interfere with what the character of Han Solo is really about – even if this was a younger, more reckless take on the character than the one we met in the cantina of Tatooine.”
Their source goes even further to suggest the pair were wanting a representation of Solo that would be more along the lines of Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura character.
The film is on a brief hiatus for now as Howard gets up to speed on what has been done and readies to take over the shoot. All this craziness is happening as the immediate next film in the series, Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” is on the verge of completion with Johnson confirming (via ScreenRant) that post-production will be complete by August ahead of its December release.
The “Han Solo” film is currently still slated for a May 25th 2018 release.
“Han Solo”: Acting Coaches, Applause, More Fallout
Another day and more details keep emerging in the fallout of the shock exit of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord from the young Han Solo “Star Wars” spin-off feature. THR has posted a lengthy breakdown of the saga in a piece that includes several new wrinkles to the story.
Talk of “deep fundamental philosophical differences” in filmmaking style continue. Sources for the trade say Lord & Miller felt they were being given “zero creative freedom” and forced to operate under “extreme scheduling constraints” and “were never given enough days for each scene from the very beginning”.
On the flipside, insiders also say the pair simply “weren’t prepared for a movie of this size and scope” and their more improvisational style “does not work on a set with hundreds of crewmembers waiting for direction”. Production department heads reportedly began to complain.
When the shoot moved from the UK to the Canary Islands is when things really got interesting. Lucasfilm replaced editor Chris Dickens (“Macbeth”) with Oscar-winner Pietro Scalia (“The Martian,” “Alien: Covenant”). Having also seen the dailies, Lucasfilm decided to bring in an acting coach for Alden Ehrenreich – an odd move so far along in a film’s production.
Lawrence Kasdan was then sent to London and became something of a ‘shadow director’, demanding that “every line [of the script he co-wrote] was said word for word” and to appease him and the studio, Lord and Miller would “do several takes exactly as written and then shoot additional takes.”
The impasse was reached in June and so Kennedy, with Disney Studios head Alan Horn’s blessing, pulled the trigger and let the pair go. When the crew was told that Ron Howard would take over as director, sources for the trade say “they broke into applause”.
Howard meanwhile was concerned about how Lord and Miller would react and has apparently been emailing with them, with the two apparently being very supportive. Shooting was slated to wrap in July but that will now be extended to early September as Howard captures new material. Even so, sources say much of what Miller and Lord have already shot is “very usable”.
There is concern though, despite Rian Johnson suffering no major interference from Lucasfilm whilst shooting “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” that what little creative risk the franchise is already taking will have to be curbed. Between this, Josh Trank’s dismissal from a second “Star Wars” stand-alone, and Garth Edwards’ being shunted aside from ‘Rogue One’ because it was too dark a war film, rivals are smelling blood in the water.
An executive from another studio tells the trade: “All of the films have been ‘troubled’. J.J. [Abrams] was powerful enough to push back on an unrealistic start date [for the first movie] but that was a tug of war. The last one was reshot by Tony [Gilroy] for months and now this? This is a systemic problem.”
The full report with all its allegations is up at The Hollywood Reporter. Disney CEO Bob Iger is playing down the panic talk, telling TMZ this weekend: “First of all we have a great cast, we have a great script, and we have a great director. It’s gonna be fine.”
Production is still ongoing on the untitled Han Solo film at Lucasfilm and Disney Pictures with director Ron Howard posting a new set photo with himself and cinematographer Bradford Young blocking out a scene. An alien puppet can be seen in the background.
Speaking with ET Online this week, one of the film’s stars Woody Harrelson spoke a bit about how the film’s progressing and the tone, saying: “Fortunately, the Force is still very much with us. It’s great that Ron came along when he did. He’s a great actor and a great guy, [with a] great sense of humor. I think a lot of humor comes through what he’s doing. I think it could be one of the funnier Star Wars movies.”
Meanwhile Screen Rant has done some digging into the handbook of the Director’s Guild of America handbook to look at the regulations over the firing of the film’s previous directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Lord and Miller had directed approximately 85% of the movie before they were let go, that’s before a rule kicks in at 90%. Had they been kept on until 90%, they would’ve been entitled to all post-production creative rights.
The Han Solo film opens in cinemas on May 25th 2018.
Ron Howard Reassures Fans the Han Solo Film Is "Coming Along Great"
The director says he is having fun with those social media teases, but is being very careful not to let any spoilers slip past
Relax, Star Wars fans — production on the Han Solo stand-alone film is going splendidly, according to Ron Howard.
The Oscar-winning director told Heat Visionon Tuesday the space adventure project is "coming along great."
"It's a fantastic script, a great cast and I am having a fantastic creative experience with it," he said.
Howard took the reins of the film in late June when former helmers Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were firedafter clashing with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
As sources detailed to The Hollywood Reporter then, the directors felt like they were being given "zero creative freedom," while the Star Wars brass was displeased by the duo's improvisational style that saw takes deviate from to Kasdan's script.
Howard, who noted he is still relatively new to the production, said the film "came with great characters, a great script and actors who inhabit those characters."
The director continued, "It's a great young cast, incredibly strong — smart, funny people who love their characters and love being part of this. I think we'll be able to do something that is a lot of fun."
Howard also said he enjoys the tiny production teases he shares on social media, but make no mistake, he is mindful with the posts and careful not to include even a sliver of a spoiler, the helmer assured.
Alden Ehrenreich is playing the iconic smuggler, while Donald Glover steps into the role of Lando Calrissian. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge also star, with Joonas Suotamo playing Chewbacca.
The as-yet untitled film is set to open May 25, 2018.
This is a complicated situation for the Director's Guild of America, which now faces the difficult task of deciding who ends up with the director's credit on the movie. While Lord and Miller clearly have a claim, having shepherded filming for nearly five months, Howard also will play a big role.
The DGA doesn't like putting more than one name on a project, but they've made exceptions for directing teams like Lord and Miller. Putting three names on, however, could be a big issue for the guild. Sources say it'll likely take months for the DGA to decide, and if they're unhappy with that decision, Lord and Miller will be able to appeal.
Even once the issue of credit is settled, questions remain. Will Lord and Miller be invited to the premiere? If they're listed as directors, will they still want their names on the movie? The fallout from their firing could continue for months, if not years.
The currently untitled Han Solo spin-off movie, finishing up production under the eyes of director Ron Howard, is coming to come together and over the weekend a new rumor sprang up about one of its potential characters.
The story began with a Funko representative speaking on the Steele Wars podcast (via Cinema Blend) where he mentioned that he is excited about the upcoming film and listed off a few cast members including Emilia Clarke, Lupita Nyong’o, Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover.
Trouble is, Nyong’o hasn’t been mentioned in connection with the film before. The actress played the lemon-headed Maz Kanata in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the upcoming “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (in a smaller role), while it has been established Han has known Maz for many years. Her making an appearance isn’t out of the question.
The Funko Pop expert also says that sometimes Disney sends out orders only 4-5 months in advance of the films at present. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opens in December with the Han Solo spin-off due May next year.
Michael Kenneth Williams’ Role Cut From ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Movie Amid Reshoots
Michael Kenneth Williams, an Emmy nominee for his supporting role in HBO’s The Night Of, will not be in the new Star Wars stand-alone Han Solo movie after all. His part has been cut amid the reshoots now underway with new director Ron Howard. Williams said the revamped production schedule conflicted with his commitment to spy drama The Red Sea Diving Resort, his new movie now shooting in South Africa with Ben Kingsley and Chris Evans.
“I felt great about what I created with the directors that I worked with,” said Williams, who was cast in the Han Solo origin story by original helming duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who exited in June. “It is what it is.”
“When Ron Howard got hired to finish out the film, there were some reshoot issues that needed to be done in regards to my character, in order for it to match the new direction which the producers wanted Ron to carry the film in,” Williams told Deadline. “And that would have required me on a plane a month ago to London, to Pinewood, to do reshoots. But I’m here, on location in Africa. It’s scheduling. I’m not going to be back on the market until the end of November after [his SundanceTV series] Hap and Leonard, and for them to wait that long for me, that would have pushed back the release date, which I believe is in May 2018. They wanted me now; I couldn’t go. So they had to clip-clip-clip.”
Plot and character details had been kept under wraps, but Williams said he played a half-human, half-animal in the film and that “we created a kick-ass character, in my opinion. I’m proud of it.”
Howard took over from Miller and Lord in late June after the duo left the project due to creative differences. Production resumed in July, and Lucasfilm and Disney still are targeting their original May 25, 2018, release date. Alden Ehrenreich stars as Han Solo and Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Joonas Suotamo co-star.
“I don’t think that me not being in the Star Wars family is final,” Williams said. “I left with a very good taste in my mouth about the whole family, and I hope that I left a good taste in their mouth. They’re a great group of people, the Lucas family.”