They already have experience with the Millennium Falcon from The Lego Movie, but now Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are going to sit at the controls of the real thing. The filmmaking duo has been signed on to direct the third movie in the Star Wars standalone series, a story that focuses on the adventures of a young Han Solo.
The announcement by Lucasfilm on Tuesday confirms an EW report from nearly two years ago that the studio was developing a story about the early years of the space pirate, along with a separate movie about Boba Fett and his ragtag group of rival bounty hunters.
Josh Trank was set to direct the Boba Fett movie before parting ways with Lucasfilm in May, and has not yet been replaced. The Han Solo story never had a director announced until now.
Origin of the origin story
Sources close to the project tell EW that the Han Solo movie was initially one of the first films in the “Anthology” series of movies, but that shifted to Gareth Edwards Death Star-raid saga Rogue One, debuting next December, when the Lucasfilm storytrust worried about confusing the audience, since Harrison Ford would just be reprising his role as Solo in The Force Awakens.
The Force Awakens is considered part of the new trilogy, the main Star Wars story focusing on Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the characters from the original films. The stand-alones, or “Anthology” movies, tell offshoots of that narrative arc. (See how it already gets a little murky if you’re not following closely.)
Having Ford reprise the role, then bringing in a younger actor to play a different version of Han Solo in a spin-off, seemed like it might turn muddy waters into the swamp of Dagobah. Was Lucasfilm rebooting the character already? It might be easy for casual moviegoers to get confused.
The solution was merely to move the young Han story further back in the line. With the Boba Fett movie in flux, it jumped ahead again and is now set to debut May 25, 2018.
That places it in theaters roughly a year after Episode VIII, the follow-up to J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens, which is being written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) and comes out May 26, 2017.
Which one is the Chewie?
Miller and Lord, who first became known for the 2002-2003 animated comedy Clone High, shifted to movies with 2009’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. From there, they made the leap to live-action with 2012’s spoof of 21 Jump Street, and in 2014 they did both — the sequel 22 Jump Street and the animated toybox mashup The Lego Movie.
The question now is how the duo is going to finish everything on their 2018 to-do list. They’re also signed to make an animated Spider-Man movie for Sony — separate from the live-action one being directed by Jon Watts and starring Tom Holland, due in 2017, and are writing the feature film version of The Flash for Warner Bros.
“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us,” the pair said in a statement released by Lucasfilm today. “This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”
Here’s the official synopsis from the studio: “The story focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley.”
Lord and Miller took to social media to celebrate:
A new generation
If the passage of the Star Wars narrative from one generation to the next needed a more clear example, it has one in the screenwriters of the young Han Solo story. Raiders of the Lost Ark screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (not to mention The Force Awakens) is teaming up with his son, Jon Kasdan, to write about Solo’s wild younger years.
Lawrence is the Oscar-nominated writer of The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist, and Grand Canyon (all of which he also directed), and his other son is comedy filmmaker Jake Kasdan, the director of Bad Teacher, Walk Hard and Orange County.
Jon Kasdan is the writer and director ofThe First Time, a romantic teen dramedy starring Dylan O’Brien and Victoria Justice as two kids who fall hard for each other over one weekend. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.
Before that, Jon made the 2007 drama In the Land of Women, starring Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Elena Anaya, and Olympia Dukakis. His writing credits include the TV shows Dawson’s Creek and Freaks and Geeks — some episodes of which were directed by his brother, Jake.
Clearly, Lawrence Kasdan’s boys chose to join with him, and together rule the galaxy.