It may be time to really start worrying about the Han Solo: A Star Wars Story. Sure, alarms have been sounded in the past week. But this sounds seriously bad. Perhaps irreversible. Many Star Wars fans were, at the very least, probably pretty unsure when directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired just weeks before production on the movie was set to finish. However, with Ron Howard coming in and with five weeks of reshoots scheduled to take place after principal photography wraps, it feels like this ship could be turned in the right direction. That is, assuming that Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!), the man tasked with playing the young version of Han Solo, can pull it off. And therein lies the problem. It sounds like Lucasfilm wasn't happy with his performance prior to firing Lord and Miller.
The Hollywood Reporter recently did a very deep dive into what exactly went wrong behind-the-scenes on the young Han Solo movie that caused Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to fire Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Part of the report revealed that, even before the directing duo was axed for good, Alden Ehrenreich was not giving a performance that made Lucasfilm feel confident. So much so that they brought in an acting coach deep into production. Here's what THR had to say about it.
"Not entirely satisfied with the performance that the directors were eliciting from Rules Don't Apply star Alden Ehrenreich, Lucasfilm decided to bring in an acting coach. (Hiring a coach is not unusual; hiring one that late in production is.) Lord and Miller suggested writer-director Maggie Kiley, who worked with them on 21 Jump Street."
There is so much to unpack with this highly unusual situation. Is Lucasfilm having an issue working with visionary filmmakers? Should they pump the brakes and not rush these Star Wars movies out? There are a lot of questions, but really, at least for the Han Solo movie, none of that matters if Alden Ehrenreich can't pull it off. Harrison Ford as Han Solo is one of the most iconic performances in the history of cinema. No matter how good this movie is, if the audience doesn't buy Ehrenreich as a younger version of the character, it is all going to fall apart. So, knowing that an acting coach was brought in that late into the process to coach the actor who beat out more than 1,000 other candidates for the job, is perhaps the most unnerving part of this whole thing for Star Wars fans.
Lucasfilm still insists that the Han Solo movie is going to make its May 25, 2018, release date. That feels less and less likely. Disney owns Lucasfilm and, given their incredible track record with Marvel Studios, their live-action remakes and their original animated movies, it seems shocking that they are handling Star Wars the way they are. Sure, the movies are making money so far, but increasingly, the behind-the-scenes happenings are concerning. Hopefully, for Alden Ehrenreich, he won't wind up shouldering the blame for this when the movie arrives. Or maybe this acting coach will get him where he needs to be. No matter what, this situation continues to be fascinating.