Ron Howard was offered the chance to direct The Phantom Menace and turned it down. Though, it's not so simple as that, as the director has recently clarified. Still, the man who would ultimately go on to direct the forthcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story could have directed the famously maligned Episode I. What might that have looked like? We'll never know, but we do know what exactly happened.

Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives in theaters next weekend and that means Ron Howard has been making the press rounds to promote it. During a recent interview, the topic of him possibly being offered Star Wars: The Phantom Menace back in the day came up. While he admits that did happen, it wasn't in such a formal way and really boiled down to a single discussion. Here's what Howard had to say about it.

"I want to clarify that a little. It was a casual conversation in a car park. It was not like I read a script and weighed it carefully. It was a knee-jerk reaction because I immediately felt like George should do it."

Indeed, George Lucas did famously go on to direct not just that movie, but all three of the Star Wars prequels. Ron Howard's knee-jerk reaction is understandable. Why not have the man who created this franchise bring it back after all those years? While hindsight suggests maybe it would have been good to have someone else step in the director's chair, as they did with The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi prior to the Disney era of Lucasfilm, it was tough to imagine Lucas would do what he ended up doing. Just think, Ron Howard could have gotten his hands on Darth Maul.

George Lucas sold all of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for more than $4 billion and, ever since, he's scarcely been involved. Though, he did offer some guidance during one scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story. All of the movies so far in the new era have featured different directors. J.J. Abrams is going to be the first repeat director as he stepped in for Colin Trevorrow on Star Wars 9. So, why did Howard decided to step up to the plate for Solo? His explanation is pretty simple.

"Now that other people are broadening the scope and the approach to the movies, it became a more reasonable consideration."

Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from Solo after they shot the majority of the movie. Ron Howard was then brought in and, by most early accounts, he managed to pull it off after shooting 70 percent of the movie. While it may not go down as an all-time great Star Wars flick, it sounds like Howard knows what he's doing. That only makes us wonder even more what he might have been able to do for The Phantom Menace. Could he have possibly made Jar Jar Binks not suck? Would he have had the good sense not to kill Darth Maul? We'll always be left to ponder such questions. This news comes to us courtesy of Total Film.

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Ryan Scott