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‘Star Wars’: The Han Solo Movie We Will Never Get to See

Now that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have left the standalone film, audiences can expect to never see their vision. But what would it have looked like?

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Alden Ehrenreich, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Rian Johnson, Kiri Hart, Kathleen Kennedy and Pablo Hidalgo on stage during Future Directors Panel at Star Wars Celebration

Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios

There’s no doubt that Lord and Miller’s Han Solo movie would have been funny, and they likely delighted in the opportunity to brighten up the “Star Wars” universe with their own unique polish. It’s easy to picture their take on the roguish Solo, with his macho sarcasm and derring-do, considering the characters they’ve handled in the past. They know their way around male bonding, so Han and Chewbacca surely would have had some amusing moments together as they began cementing their friendship. Lando? Probably kind of an asshole. Spaceships? Probably poorly made and hard to fly. Other inhabitants of a very big universe? Throwbacks and wacky creatures all.

But it would also have been very different in look and feel than the rest of the franchise.

At last summer’s Star Wars Celebration in London, Lord and Miller (who had both recently moved to the UK to begin work on the project) made no bones about holding tight to their comedic leanings.

As IndieWire reported at the time, the “LEGO Movie” helmers jokingly pointed out that, because the current iteration of the franchise holds that all “Star Wars”-related movies are now canon, their blocky animated feature — with its scenes featuring Han and Chewie alongside many other iconic movie characters — was actually part of the Expanded Universe. They even shared a clip from of the characters from the movie. Everyone laughed…including Kennedy, who was on stage for the entirety of the panel.

Still, the pair appeared to take their duties very seriously, thanks in part to their great affection for the character, which Miller solemnly deemed “one of the most iconic characters of all time.” That was on clear display when they discussed the large-scale casting process that went into finding young Han.

READ MORE: Han Solo Upheaval: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s ‘Star Wars’ Exit

“It was the hardest casting challenge of all time,” Miller said at the time. “We did a very, very exhaustive search. We saw almost 3,000 people for the part.” Oddly enough, the directors eventually settled on the first actor they saw: Alden Ehrenreich, who was also on hand at Celebration to chat about his affection for the character and his hopes for the film. Kennedy was on stage the entire time.

Yet, even early on, a disconnect between the kind of films that Lord and Miller make and the kind that Kennedy was envisioning was beginning to grow. When talking about the upcoming film with Variety in November of 2016, she said, “This moves closer to a heist or Western type feel. We’ve talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colors that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel of the film.”

That’s not the sort of film that Lord and Miller would ever make. Early reports hold that Lord and Miller butted heads with Kennedy and Kasdan in terms of both the aim of the film and the way in which they were going about making it, and even Lucasfilm’s official statement on the duo’s exit leans on “creative differences” for the split, a weird nod back to just two years ago when they were already laying out their creativity in exciting, original terms.

They promised to take risks — but now we’ll never see them.

In the meantime, the film is still tentatively set for release on May 25, 2018 — and the filmmakers are hardly unemployed: They’re writing and producing an untitled animated “Spider-Man” feature and writing and producing a “Lego Movie” sequel, both of which suit their talents. Let’s just hope the studios understand that, too.

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