Veteran directors Lawrence Kasdan and Joe Johnston’s names have emerged as two possible replacements to helm the young young Han Solo movie following the sudden departure of co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The second Star Wars anthology movie, of course, chronicles the early days of the galaxy’s famed smuggler made famous by Harrison Ford in the original Star Wars in 1977. Filming has been underway since early this year on the movie starring Alden Ehrenreich in the titular role, but the production dropped a major bombshell Tuesday with the announcement by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy that Lord and Miller were let go from the project.
Names to replace the directing duo have already begun to surface, starting with Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director of A Beautiful Mind who is reportedly being courted for the job. However, he is said to be tied up directing a biopic on opera legend Luciano Pavarotti and adapting the non-fiction tome Hillbilly Elegy for the big screen.
According to THR, Kasdan – who co-wrote the screenplays for the Star Wars films The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens – is also being considered to replace Lord and Miller. Sources say Kasdan, who co-wrote the young Han Solo screenplay with his son, Jon Kasdan, clashed with Lord and Miller on the set of the film as early as when the movie started production in February.
One possible reason for the rift between the Star Wars veteran and the directing duo – who co-helmed 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie – is that Kasdan likes to stick close to the script, while Miller and Lord favor comedy and improvisation. The source tells THR, “People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish.”
Replacing Lord and Miller with Kasdan seems to make the most sense at this point, considering the acclaimed writer and director’s longstanding relationship with Lucasfilm (he also wrote the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark). He’s clearly been familiar with what makes the character tick for years, and of course, had a hand in completing Han Solo’s story, which ended with the character’s unfortunate demise in The Force Awakens.
Most importantly, though, is that he appears to be readily available as co-writer of the young Han Solo film. THR says such a plan could be complicated by Directors Guild of America rules, however, because the guild disallows somebody already working on the film from taking over as a director, unless it’s in the case of a short-term emergency.
Johnston is also reportedly being considered, but unlike Kasdan, he doesn’t have any recent ties to the Star Wars universe. He was a central figure in the days of the original trilogy, however, where he started his Hollywood career as the man responsible for designs like AT-ATs, TIE Fighters, and Boba Fett. Since then, Johnston has gone on to more than prove his worth as a solid director, however, having helmed such action adventures as The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger. Plus, Johnston has experience stepping into a project in turmoil, having replaced Mark Romanek at the helm of Universal Pictures’ 2010 update of The Wolfman after Romanek dropped out of the project.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi release date: Dec 15, 2017
Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film release date: May 25, 2018
Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX release date: May 24, 2019