Phil Lord and Chris Miller have been “fired” from the set of their upcoming Han Solo movie.
Or, at least, that’s what Variety is claiming, based on an inside source. Either way, even the official press release on StarWars.com is pretty blunt, quoting Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy in stating:
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true.”
Woah. Something big went down on the set of Han Solo. While it’ll be years before we get all the true details, it’s safe to say that a movie about the production of this film would be worth watching in and of itself!
So the big question is, where does this leave Han Solo? Put simply, it’s not looking good.
Fan reaction to the mere suggestion of a spin-off telling the origin story of everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler has been mixed to say the least. Not a lot of avid Star Wars fans are overjoyed at the prospect of seeing baby Han growing up, especially as this kind of origin story ruined plenty of characters throughout the prequel trilogy (everyone from Darth Vader to Boba Fett looks a lot less cool when viewed through the lens of the prequels).
What’s more, the idea of replacing Harrison Ford as Han Solo still doesn’t sit well with many fans. Ford is Han Solo in many people’s eyes, and trying to build up Alden Ehrenreich hasn’t exactly succeeded.
Perhaps the only genuine thing that made Han Solo look like a promising movie was the directors. Chris Miller and Phil Lord won fantastic fan acclaim for taking a movie that could otherwise have been a glorified toy commercial, and turning it into a cheeky, fun, rich parody that was filled with tiny Easter Eggs for fans of the brand.
The Lego Movie propelled the pair into movie stardom, and everything they’ve been sharing from the set of Han Solo made it seem as if maybe, just maybe, they could work their magic again and make a film that justified this unpopular subject matter.
Apparently, though, something about the pair’s comedic approach to the movie didn’t gel with Disney and their many underlings. To have a studio part ways with a director mid-way through filming is rare even on troubled movies, suggesting that whatever went down here, it was serious.
Speculation is always a bad idea in this kind of situation, but it’s also a lot of fun. Without having seen what Lord and Miller were up to, it’s possible that their vision for the movie strayed too far from the rigid formula that Lucasfilm has established with their existing Disney Star Wars movies.
Disney’s entire business plan for these movies has revolved around making movies that exactly copy the style, tone, feel, and even plot of the first three Star Wars films. If Lord and Miller were too eager to experiment with new, wacky ideas, it makes sense that Disney might cut loose their risky new approach, in favor of sticking with the derivative copycat formula that made so much money with The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
Alternatively, perhaps Lord and Miller wanted to reveal that Han Solo is the illegitimate lovechild of Yoda and Jabba the Hutt, and Lucasfilm had to put their foot down before the pair irrevocably destroyed Han Solo’s legacy in a way that George Lucas could only dream of doing with his prequels.
Either way, it’s worth assuming that Lucasfilm now won’t achieve the May 2018 release date for this movie that they’d scheduled. This is fine, as the film can instead drop back into the familiar Christmas window that Disney had been trying to escape without losing too much ground, helping to build the holiday tradition of going to see a new Star Wars.
If things on the set of this movie were really all that bad, there’s a chance that everything might be scrapped and a new director given a mandate to start all over again. If Disney felt that there was anything salvageable in what Miller and Lord were doing, they’d have allowed them to finish up principle photography and scheduled extensive reshoots later, as with Rogue One.
The Han Solo movie wasn’t exactly something that fans were crying out for to begin with, especially when far better ideas for Anthology films exist. With progress on the movie thus far essentially having imploded, Alden Ehrenreich’s turn behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon probably won’t exactly be the high point of the Star Wars saga.