‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is 70 Percent Ron Howard, 30 Percent Lord & Miller
In Star Wars, the big question about Han Solo is always who shot first; him or Greedo? In Solo: A Star Wars Story the big question is who shot what? How much of the movie is its original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and how much is by their replacement, Ron Howard?
A new report in Variety detailing all the behind the scenes shenanigans on the film gives us an answer to that question:
Suddenly, the Oscar-winning director of 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind,” who along with his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer has overseen dozens of features, was tasked with the daunting job of overhauling the embattled franchise spinoff. Howard shot about 70% of “Solo,” thus earning him sole director credit on the movie, with Lord and Miller receiving executive producer acknowledgments. With the reshoots, the movie wound up costing more than $250 million.
Variety claims that “it was mandated” that Howard reshoot “85% of Lord and Miller’s Solo,” but that his work “ultimately comprises 70% of the finished film.”
As for the reasons for the switch, the filmmakers give a few variations on a theme, the same ones we’ve heard for a while. Lord and Miller liked to improvise, liked to mess with tone, and Lucasfilm, and particularly writers Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan, didn’t care for that approach. Here’s what Jonathan Kasdan told Variety:
The issues we were having were much more in the bones and practical. Chris and Phil did everything they could to make it work, as did we. The questions only became about how to make the movie most efficiently in the time we had to do it.
Lord and Miller didn’t sit for an interview for the article, but an anonymous source told the trade they saw Han Solo as “a maverick” and therefore wanted to make “a movie about a maverick,” with a “fresh, new” approach. When they wanted to take a risk, claims this source, they were denied. And ultimately, they were let go as well.
Looking at the finished film, it seems Lucasfilm got exactly the Solo they wanted. It does not feel like a piece of maverick filmmaking. The dialogue doesn’t seem heavily improvised. The movie does feel like Star Wars. Maybe not a great Star Wars, but a Star Wars. Solo opens in theaters on Friday.