Howard, who worked with Lucas on American Graffiti in the 1970s, told Stephen Colbert that the creator of Star Wars offered his two cents when he came to visit the set of the Han Solo prequel film. The filmmaker listened and ended up changing a scene accordingly.
“We were doing a scene and he was trying to stay out of the way, but he did lean over and he said, ‘You know what Han would really do there?'” Howard recalled on The Late Show Thursday night. “I said, ‘What?’ And he told me the joke, he gave me a little joke. And I said [to the crew], ‘Hey, guess what? Here’s what we’re gonna do in the next take.’ So I know when I hear a good idea.”
Lucas created the character of Han Solo, as played by Harrison Ford in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and he stuck with the character through the entire original trilogy.
Howard explained the architect of this sci-fi universe “doesn’t spend time around these movies” anymore since he sold Lucasfilm to the Walt Disney Company and Kathleen Kennedy took over as president. “We’ve remained friends, so for me it was an incredible show of support and respect and it meant the world to me that he would go out of his way to show up,” he said.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, starring Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) as the budding galactic smuggler, has already gone through a number of changes since original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (22 Jump Street) departed the film over creative differences mere weeks before filming was supposed to end.
“It was an unusual circumstance,” Howard reiterated. “No movie, no set of creative people want to be a part of something like that. It was absolutely creative differences in this particular case.” After reading the script, discussing the story with veteran Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and taking to the concept, he learned Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and Kasdan had been talking about a Han Solo movie “before even Disney bought Lucasfilm.”
“Larry was saying that ‘of all the stories that I could be a part of telling about the world, the young Han Solo story is the one that I think would offer a lot of surprises and be very interesting,'” he said.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25.