“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is two weeks away from debuting in movie theaters nationwide, and many fans who have been closely following the tentpole’s troubled production history have the same question: How much of the finished film belongs to Ron Howard and how much to original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller?
As the story goes, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy fired Lord and Miller months into production and quickly brought on Howard to finish the film. A new report from The Wall Street Journal on “Solo’s” behind-the-scenes troubles verifies the long-standing rumor that Lord and Miller’s improvisational directing style was problematic on set. A “Solo” actor speaking on anonymity put the dilemma into perspective by saying Howard would reshoot scenes in an hour that Lord and Miller would spend an entire day working on.
The original reports after Howard was brought on in June 2017 mentioned that the new director had to patch up some scenes and bring the production together to its end. Howard was brought on after the production had already been up and running since about February. The timing of the director change led many to believe that Howard wouldn’t be directing too much, but a person close to production tells WSJ that a whopping 70% of the “Solo” theatrical cut comes from scenes directed and shot by Howard. The percentage suggests Howard was involved in more than just “extensive re-shoots” and had to direct almost the entire movie from scratch. Disney has not responded to IndieWire’s request for comment.
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The same person told WSJ a possible reason Howard reshot so much of “Solo”: The two directing groups had entirely different tones in mind for the finished product.
“Ron wanted to go back to the spirit of the original trilogy,” the person said, “while Phil and Chris were looking forward to something new, more like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’”
Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and “Solo” co-writer Lawrence Kasdan allegedly did not like the contemporary spin Lord and Miller were putting on the franchise. Howard brought Lucas’ classic touch and made “Solo” a more recognizable “Star Wars” movie.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” will open nationwide May 25, following premieres in both Hollywood and Cannes next week. Head over to The Wall Street Journal to read the entire behind-the-scenes profile.