Many Star Wars fans are still reeling after the news last week that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, with Ron Howard stepping in to replace them just a few days later. One fan that empathizes with the production is Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Production has been scheduled to resume on July 10, with Ron Howard now studying the footage that has already been shot. While promoting Spider-Man: Homecoming, Kevin Feige had this to say about how he trusts the judgment of Kathy Kennedy, although he doesn't know any specifics about what happened on the set.
"Kathy's an unbelievable inspiration over the past few years that I've been lucky enough to get to know her. All the movies she's made became the reason that I wanted to make movies. Being on the inside of any movie you understand. You've got to oversee the whole thing and take care of the vision of the overarching film. I would trust Kathy with any of the decisions she has to make, because she's been making them amazingly for 30-plus years."
The official reason for Phil Lord and Chris Miller being fired was said to be "creative differences," which is often the explanation given for a filmmaker leaving a project. This was the same reason Marvel gave when the studio parted ways with Edgar Wright just weeks before Ant-Man was about to start production. While speaking with Yahoo! Movies, Kevin Feige had this to say about why the term "creative differences" is used so much when describing an actor or filmmaker leaving a project.
"That's almost always what it is. Sometimes for the press that doesn't seem like enough. But when you're making a movie that requires creative decisions to be made every minute of every hour of every day, that's what it comes down to."
While Phil Lord and Chris Miller have worked within the major studio system before, directing 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street for Sony and The LEGO Movie for Warner Bros., this project was easily their most ambitious live-action project to date. The site also spoke with Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts, who also made a big leap from his indie feature debut (Cop Car) to this big-budget superhero tentpole. Much like Kevin Feige, the director admits he doesn't know any specific details about what happened on the Han Solo spin-off set, but he also sympathizes with their situation.
"I can only talk about my specific experience, I have no idea what happened on that [Han Solo] movie. If anything, I was less worried about someone kicking me off the movie as the camera crew coming out from behind the scenes and revealing this was all an elaborate prank! That would make more sense to me than the fact that I was in charge of this huge movie. I tried to be as upfront and transparent as possible from the beginning about how I saw the movie, and what I was trying to do so there would be no miscommunication along the way. If you feel like you can still see some sort of semblance of my style or personality in the movie, than that's good."
The previous Star Wars spin-off, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, had some behind-the-scenes difficulties as well. Tony Gilroy was brought in to polish the script for the reshoots, taking over as Gareth Edwards remained on as director, with Gilroy shadowing him in post-production. Gareth Edwards retained directorial credit, while Tony Gilroy received credit on the script rewrites. While fans will likely keep discussing the behind-the-scenes drama on Han Solo until the movie hits theaters next May, Kevin Feige adds that none of this will matter if the movie is good.
"Really nothing matters until the lights go down on opening day. Speaking for myself, every decision you make as a part of production these films is done thinking about what will the experience be live for the audience who stood in line, bought their ticket and sat down to watch the movie. For the most part, I hope that when the lights go down, the slate is wiped clean and the audience says, 'Whaddya got?' If the movie doesn't work, you try to analyze what happened. And if the movie works, that's all that matters."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson also made it clear on Twitter that he had as much creative control on that movie than he did on any of his previous movies. Ron Howard will resume production on Han Solo starting July 10, with filming now scheduled into September. Still, this brief delay will not impact the May 25, 2018 release date for Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is also the 41st anniversary of the first Star Wars movie's release, A New Hope. Hopefully we'll have more details as we wait for production to resume in just a few weeks.