[UPDATE] According to an exclusive report from THR, Ron Howard has officially signed on to direct the film and is set to meet with the principal actors and assess what is needed to complete the film, which has roughly 3 1/2 weeks left of shooting and 5 weeks of reshoots scheduled for later this summer.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy issued an official statement via star wars.com that reads:
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”
The original article is as follows:
By now, the news has made the rounds that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been fired from Disney’s Han Solo film, which has been filming since February in Pinewood Studios near London. Both the directors and LucasFilm head Kathleen Kennedy released statements yesterday citing creative differences, but additional details have surfaced regarding the particulars of what went down.
According to a report from THR, Lord and Miller’s style and vision clashed with that of screewnriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark) – who also scripted Star Wars: The Force Awakens – with insiders saying that their more “comedic sensibility and improvisational style” did not sit well with Kasdan’s “strict adherence to the written word,” nor with the specific tone he had in mind for the new movie which is a continuation from the extensive work he did shaping Solo’s character in Empire and Return of the Jedi. Apparently, the friction was felt almost immediately from the start of shooting, but the directors thought the issues could be worked through. In the end, Kennedy decided to back Kasdan, her colleague of almost 40 years, and the directors were ousted.
With several months still left on principal photography (and reshoots already scheduled for later this summer), the studio is scrambling to find another director to step in. Kasdan, whose directorial credits include Dreamcatcher and Wyatt Earp, is on their shortlist along with Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger, Jumanji) and Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea, The Da Vinci Code), the latter of whom is said to be the frontrunner.
All three candidates have some working history with either Lucasfilm and/or Disney, but Kasdan’s script work on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and Johnston’s role as an effects artist on Star Wars and art director on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi would seemingly give them the inside track. Howard’s superior box office presence is likely what caused the studio to look to him first. I’d expect them to make their choice sooner rather than later, so stay tuned for that update the moment it becomes available.