‘Star Wars’ Director Shake Up Sends Fans Panicking

Some don’t have faith acclaimed director Ron Howard will deliver

Director Ron Howard. Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment

To some Star Wars fans, the fact that new Hans Solo Prequel is having so many problems in pre-production that the directors have been replaced is bad news. Actually, it’s a disaster.

You must have been sleeping under a rock or have been on another planet to not have heard that after five (five!) months of shooting the new untitled Han Solo-themed Star Wars prequel, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were told to pack their bags. This type of thing happens usually right before a film starts shooting.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lord and Miller’s style and vision clashed with Lawrence Kasdan, the project’s screenwriter, who also penned iconic films such as Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Los Ark. Lord and Miller allegedly wanted to make the character more “comic” despite the fact that Han Solo has never been a comic personality. However, there have also been widespread reports about scheduling constraints with the directors complaining that they were never given enough days for each scene since the film started shooting.

According to a report by the Express that you may want to take with a grain of salt, the film’s lead star, Alden Ehrenreich, felt he was playing Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura more than Han Solo. Ehrenreich allegedly spilled his concerns with one of the producers, who told Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. After looking over the existing footage, Kennedy made the decision.

The (somewhat) good news is that Ron Howard has been chosen as the new director. Howard, whose film credits involve Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Backdraft, tweeted from the set of the troubled film.

Not everybody is thrilled about Howard’s takeover. “But he’s also an old-fashioned, traditional storyteller, which means anyone hoping for some narrative edge to this spinoff will most likely wind up disappointed,” says Zack Sharf of IndieWire. Others have noted that Ron Howard’s films haven’t made the money they used to.

On Reddit, several Star Wars Fans have invaded the site to dismiss the idea of Ron Howard directing the troubled film.

“Not a fan of this at all. Howard has directed some good films but his track record as of late is pretty shit to be honest. I want more fresh young talent directing these movies,” says one fan.

“I like Ron Howard movies, I just do not trust his particular vision and style to deliver on what should be an inherently dark and dangerous movie,” says another concerned fan.

However, there are plenty who think Ron Howard is perfectly capable of saving the new Han Solo movie. Mashable claims Howard is a good choice because his movies “effectively encapsulate character studies within believable universes,” while Metro UK notes that not only has Ron Howard worked with Lucasfilms before, but he is also an Oscar-winning director that has previously taken on a breadth of movie subjects. The Washington Post also argues that Howard is a great fit.

If the cards are played right, the negative publicity for the new Han Solo film could actually help the film at the box office. Certainly, the few people who haven’t heard about the project now know all about it. Many people will be interested to see how Ron Howard “saved” the film. America certainly loves comebacks.

Truthfully, there’s not anything bad that can really happen with Han Solo film’s bizarre situation, especially since the Star Wars franchise is pretty much safe from anything but a nuclear war. Star Wars fanatics will see the new movie no matter how bad the reviews are. Still, the opening of the film in May 2018 will be one of the most closely watched movie openings in history.

Daryl Deino is a writer, actor and civil rights activist who has appeared on shows such as The Untouchables, Parks and Recreation and Two Broke Girls. Besides writing for Observer, he has also written extensively about technology, entertainment and social issues for sites such as the Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Inquisitr and IreTron. Follow him on Twitter: @ddeino.