Howard, who is joining the 'Star Wars' universe, joked with Richard Dreyfuss about his new gig as well

By Christopher Rosen
June 23, 2017 at 08:40 AM EDT

Ron Howard is “beyond grateful” to join the Star Wars family.

Howard was hired to “assume directorial duties” on the untitled young Han Solo movie after original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were removed earlier this week. In commenting on the news via his Twitter account, Howard added, “I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.”

Howard has a long history with Star Wars. Speaking at Cannes Lions on Friday, Howard recalled how Star Wars creator George Lucas had discussed the space opera with Howard while the two were making American Grafitti (which featured Howard as star).

On Twitter, Howard received some playful ribbing from his former Grafitti costar, Richard Dreyfuss.

“Finally, the world will get to see the twist George told us he always wanted to tell during Grafitti!” Dreyfuss wrote.

“Don’t be giving away any secrets, Richard!” replied Howard.

“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago,” Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement announcing Howard as the Han Solo film’s new director. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.” Alden Ehrenreich is set to play Han Solo in the film with Donald Glover cast as Lando Calrissian. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge all costar.

Lord and Miller, the filmmakers behind The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street, were removed from the Han Solo film on Tuesday. “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,” Lord and Miller said in a statement.

For more on the Han Solo drama, read Anthony Breznican’s deep-dive here.

The young Han Solo movie is set for release on May 25, 2018.