UPDATED 6/20/17 (10:38PM) – On the heels of today’s shocker, Deadline has reported out that Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) may emerge as a top frontrunner to take over the reins of Han Solo prequel. While this isn’t confirmed or firmly established, if it comes to fruition Howard would step in for directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord who departed the project abruptly due to creative differences. Howard is a prolific filmmaker and a workhorse for the industry. Deadline has also floated the possibility that Star Wars mainstay Lawrence Kasden (who served as a writer on Han Solo) may also be in contention, though Howard might emerge with a stronger hand in the end.
He most recently directed Inferno and the epic In the Heart of the Sea. Howard has also expressed interest in directing a biopic on opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti as well as an adaptation of the literary sensation Hillbilly Elegy. However, both projects would go on the back-burner if he were to step into the already in-production Han Solo project.
EARLIER: Partway through the production of the 2018 Han Solo anthology film, directing partners Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie) have left the project. While some folks may have a bad feeling about this, both directors and Kathleen Kennedy assure audiences that their “creative differences” are resulting in an amicable split and that there will soon be a new director who fits in more comfortably with the vision of the film. Lucasfilm also promises both to reveal the new director soon and keep their current May 25, 2018 release date for the movie. It seems that only three weeks of shooting were left, which begs the question: why was it so essential to boot both directors off the film so close to the end?
This is not the first difficulty a Star Wars anthology film has had keeping a director: after the poor performance of his Fantastic Four reboot, Josh Trank lost his involvement in a 2020 Lucasfilm movie (most likely the Boba Fett film).
Members still signed onto the film include star Alden Ehrenreich (Blue Jasmine), Thandie Newton (Westworld), Donald Glover (Atlanta), Emilia Clarke (Terminator Genisys), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (The Iron Lady). The film will tackle iconic smuggler Han Solo’s life before he ever met the Skywalkers, allowing more screen time to fan favorites Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca (played not by Peter Mayhew but Joonas Suotamo). It is the second in a line of three standalone anthology films, the first being Rogue One and the last being an untitled Boba Fett spinoff.