In a major upheaval in the midst of production, next year’s Star Wars movie focusing on a young Han Solo has broken ties with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
No new filmmaker has been announced, but in a statement, Lucasfilm says the movie will remain on course for a May 2018 release.
“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew,” stated Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
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A previously announced Star Wars stand-alone film, which sources tell EW was a Boba Fett movie, also dropped its director, Fantastic Four and Chronicle filmmaker Josh Trank — although that was long before even serious pre-production began. And Rogue One brought aboard frequent Bourne screenwriter and Michael Clayton filmmaker Tony Gilroy to assist on reshoots for that film, although original director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) stayed on the project until the end.
There had been no major rumblings of difficulty on the set of the young Han Solo movie, which stars Alden Ehrenreich as a 20-something version of Harrison Ford’s infamous smuggler, Donald Glover in the role of his duplicitous frenemy Lando Calrissian — originated in The Empire Strikes Back by Billy Dee Williams — and Joonas Suotamo taking over Chewbacca from Peter Mayhew.
The movie costars Thandie Newton and Emilia Clarke in unspecified roles, Woody Harrelson plays a mentor figure, and Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge will play a performance-capture character.
Whoever takes over the movie will inherit a project that has already undergone most, if not all, of its principal photography, and it’s not clear yet how much of the movie, written by Empire Strikes Back and The Force Awakens screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan (The First Time), will be reshot — if any.
For fans of Lord and Miller, who promised a comic sensibility for the stand-alone project, it’s disappointing news, and worrisome for Star Wars fans in general.
For now, the Millennium Falcon is in a holding pattern.