Some of the cast and original co-directors of the Halo Solo movie
When word first got out that Disney and LucasFilm were planning to make a live-action Star Wars feature film that would focus on a younger Han Solo, there was a wide mix of reactions, ranging from, “That sounds cool” to, “That sounds like it might be a bad idea.” As it turns out, the road to make this movie about the early days of the charming space smuggler hit a major speed bump, as the original director duo got fired only a few weeks before principal photography was to be completed.
So what is the deal with this Han Solo movie, anyway? Who’s directing the film now that the original directors have been booted off? What’s the story going to be about and will we see other familiar characters in the Star Wars universe, besides the well-known pilot of the Millennium Falcon? That’s what we hope to answer in this article. Be aware that there is still a ton we don’t know about Solo: A Star Wars Story, so we will be updating this article with any new and major information as it is released.
What is Solo: A Star Wars Story going to be about?
Good question! Lucasfilm and Disney have been doing an amazing job keeping things under wraps Solo. We do know it will officially be called Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie will center on some of the adventures of the young Han Solo, who was originally played in the classic Star Wars film trilogy, as well as the more recent The Force Awakens, by Harrison Ford. The new movie will also feature Han’s tall and hairy Wookie friend and co-pilot Chewbacca, and we will also see a younger version of Han’s friend Lando Calrissian in the film, orginally played by Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Recently it’s also been hinted that Corellia (Solo’s home planet) will likely play a role, as well as Kessel — known for the infamous Kessel Run. We also know that comic book characters Bink and Tag will also make their way into the movie.
While many months passed without a single glimpse of the new film, they finally gave us a quick teaser of the first trailer during Super Bowl LII, mentioning the first trailer was to come the next morning. Fast-forward to the following Monday and the trailer aired on ABC’s Good Morning America. Give it a watch!
What’s the history of the Han Solo movie and who was hired to make it?
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Disney and Lucasfilm first announced plans for a Han Solo movie in 2013, and that it would be written by Lawrence Kasdan, who previously co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with George Lucas, and who later would help write The Force Awakens with J.J. Abrams. In 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would co-direct the Han Solo movie. The duo previously directed The Lego Movie, along with the comedic movie adaptation of 21 Jump Street and its sequel 22 Jump Street. It was also announced that Lawrence Kasdan’s son Jon would co-write the screenplay for the movie with his dad.
Over 3,000 people reportedly auditioned for the plum role of Han Solo. In the end, it was a relative unknown who snagged the part. Alden Ehrenreich, who had sizable roles in a number of box office disappointments, including Beautiful Creatures, Hail, Caesar!, and Rules Don’t Apply, was announced as the man who would take on Ford’s role in the movie in July 2016. Joonas Suotamo, who portrayed Chewbacca alongside Peter Mayhew in The Force Awakens and the upcoming The Last Jedi, will take on the Wookie co-pilot role by himself in the Han Solo movie. Donald Glover, best known for his role as Troy in the TV sitcom Community, and later as the creator and star of the FX comedy Atlanta, will take on the role of Lando Calrissian.
Other roles in the Han Solo movie have proven to be more mysterious. We do know that Woody Harrelson will be in the movie as a character named Beckett, Han Solo’s previously unseen mentor. Emilia Clarke, best known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s hit TV show Game of Thrones, will play Qi’Ra, a woman who grew up on the streets with Solo on the planet Corellia, according to a synopsis of the Star Wars YA novel Most Wanted. Phoebe Waller-Bridge will play Lando’s droid L3-37. Other actors featured in the movie include Thandie Newton, Jon Favreau, and Star Wars movie veteran Warwick Davis. Before Lord and Miller exited the project, Michael K. Williams shot scenes as the gangster Dryden Vos but was replaced by Paul Bettany when he couldn’t return for reshoots.
Why did Phil Lord and Christopher Miller get fired as directors and who replaced them?
In January 2017, Lucasfilm and Disney confirmed that Solo started principal photography at Pinewood Studios in England, with the production moving to the Canary Islands in May. All seemed to be going well until June 20, when LucasArts made the unexpected announcement that Lord and Miller would no longer be directing the rest of the movie, just a few weeks before principal photography was to be completed.
Officially, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy said that Lord and Miller “had different creative visions on this film” than what the production company wanted. Unofficially, rumors claim that the two directors were changing the script while filming and getting the actors to improv lines. These changes reportedly displeased Lawrence Kasdan, who was used to having his scripts filmed word for word. Other rumors claim the two directors were filming some scenes with fewer angles than what was expected of them, with LucasFilm unhappy they would not get as many options for editing as expected.
Earlier this year, Kennedy elaborated, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, that Lord and Miller were used to comedy and animation, and that their methods simply weren’t suited to the more rigid structure of a major blockbuster like Star Wars.
Just a couple of days after Lucasfilm said Lord and Miller were out, the company revealed that Ron Howard would come on as director to complete the filming of the Han Solo movie, which still had about three and a half weeks left to go. Howard is also directing five extra weeks for reshoots. Howard is a long-time friend and co-worker of Star Wars creator George Lucas, who cast him as one of the leads in his second film, American Graffiti. Later Howard would direct Willow, a fantasy film produced and co-written by Lucas. Howard has since become one of the biggest directors in Hollywood, known for films like Apollo 13, Splash, Cocoon, Far and Away, and A Beautiful Mind, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director in 2001.
With the adjusted timeline, Michael K. Williams’s Dryden Vos went from a CGI character to a human played, as mentioned above, by Paul Bettany. Bettany previously worked with Howard on A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code.
Ron Howard apparently re-shot most of the movie after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired. Recent rumors suggest even more reshoots started near the end of January, lasting about 3 weeks.
This could be nothing to worry about and might simply be done to improve the film. So far, fears that the extra reshoots would affect the film’s release have proved unfounded, as it’s still on track to hit theatres May 25.
After months of speculation, Lord and Miller revealed last month that they would be credited as executive producers on the film, as Howard has effectively directed the final cut we’ll see in May. “We were really proud of the many contributions we made to that film,” Miller told the audience at the GLAS Animation Festival. “In light of the creative differences, we elected to take an executive producer credit.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story has already had its fair share of on-set drama, perhaps more than most movies in recent memory — though Rogue One certainly gives it a run for its money. However, many films that have had issues during filming have ended up being great when they are finally released. Hopefully, that will also be the case for this film. Again, we will update this article when more information is revealed about the movie.