Now that the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” trailer has been released and the movie is officially heading towards its May release date, director Ron Howard and producer Kathleen Kennedy are willing to speak just a little bit about the notorious behind-the-scenes drama. Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller last June, four months into the movie’s production, and Ron Howard was quickly brought in to finish the film.
At the time, Lucasfilm cited “creative differences” for why it had to let Lord and Miller go. Rumors began swirling that the two’s directing style clashed with Kennedy’s tastes, and apparently the studio was unhappy with Alden Ehrenreich in the lead role. With the movie compeleted and ready for release, Kennedy is open to clearing up the air about what really went down.
The producer confirms to Entertainment Weekly that Lord and Miller were going off script and encouraging improvisation. Although she did not mind the pair’s directing style on a personal level, it provided troublesome for the business side of things.
“I think these guys are hilarious,” Kennedy told EW, “but they come from a background of animation and sketch comedy and when you are making these movies you can do that and there’s plenty of room for improvisation, we do that all the time, but it has to be inside of a highly structured process or you can’t get the work done and you can’t move the armies of people to anticipate and have things ready.”
“It literally came down to process. Just getting it done,” she clarified. “There comes a point where there’s only so much you can do and then you have to take a different course and that’s where we ended up…These are really great guys and you know, nobody wanted this to happen. It was just one of those unfortunate things.”
Howard agreed with Kennedy, calling the entire fiasco a “disappointment.” However, the director does say that Lord and Miller’s comedic style is all over the movie despite the fact they didn’t get to finish it.
“It’s disappointing that any company ever feels like they have to make a change like that,” Howard said. “It’s rough on everybody and disappointing for everybody, and I’ve just tried to come in and — of course, Phil and Chris’s fingerprints are all over the movie, given how much they put into it and the time they put into it. I hope fans won’t even think about how the movie was made. They should just lose themselves in it.”
Howard won’t go into more detail about his replacement. He told EW that the goal when he boarded the project was to make the transition unnoticeable in front of the camera, and that’s why he isn’t going to answer questions about just how exactly the switch worked.
“As Han says, ‘Don’t tell me the percentages.’ Never tell me the percentages,” Howard said. “I don’t really want to explain it. I don’t really want to be specific about that because, again, I don’t even want that to matter to fans. I could understand why you’d ask, and some might even be curious, but look, everybody who has been involved in this has done nothing but love what this movie could be, and that’s been the vibe around it. I think audiences are gonna feel that love and excitement.”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens nationwide May 25.