Disney and Lucasfilm have announced that Ron Howard will officially be taking over Han Solo: A Star Wars Story. Directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were let go from the project earlier in the week for "creative differences" and speculation began on who would takeover the Star Wars spin-off. Ron Howard was the frontrunner along with Joe Johnston (Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer), who also worked on the visual effects of the original Star Wars trilogy, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the script for Han Solo.
Lucasfilm released a statement announcing the news officially. Read what Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had to say below.
"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. 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. Filming will resume the 10th of July."
No other official information was given, but the movie is apparently still on track to hit its May 25th, 2018 release date.
Ron Howard, who also directed George Lucas' Willow and starred in Lucas' 1973 movie American Graffiti, was approached in the late 90s to direct The Phantom Menace. Howard's style should fit in perfectly to the vision that Lucasfilm has while hopefully adding his own creative spin on the hotly anticipated movie. Creative control has been in the news a lot for Disney and Lucasfilm, with some critics accusing the studios of hiring directors and basically using them as puppets to adhere to a specific vision. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has stated that critic's speculation is untrue and that he had full creative control under the watch of Lucasfilm and Disney.
The Academy Award winning Director is set to meet immediately with the cast and crew to go over what has been shot and discuss the next steps. The production is currently on a break, but has several weeks of reshooting already planned for later in the year. Production started back at the end of January 2017 at Pinewood Studios under the production title, Red Cup and is close to three-quarters finished. It is not clear at this time if Howard will order more reshoots or how he will take credit on the production. Sources close to the project report that Miller and Lord were let go because they were taking the character of Han Solo in a more comedic approach and that their shooting style wasn't seeing eye to eye with Lucasfilm and Disney.
Ron Howard has spoken about how George Lucas inspired him to direct. Lucas wasn't much older than Howard when he was directing American Graffiti and Howard remembers his eye for detail being particularly inspiring, mentioning that Lucas spent just as much time choosing the cars for the movie as he did when choosing the actors. Howard has also recently talked about why he chose to turn down Lucas' request to direct The Phantom Menace by saying that he was the third director approached and that ultimately, he didn't want to have to step in and follow Lucas' act.