This weekend brings the release of the second “Star Wars Story” film, Solo. Part of Lucasfilm’s anthology films set within the Star Wars Universe, the film gives us a sort of origin story for Han Solo. Explaining how Han met Chewbacca and Lando, and how he started his path to become the greatest smuggler in the entire galaxy. But the path to make the film has been rather uneasy. Today we’re going to take a look at what all led to the film being released, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
After George Lucas sold his production company, Lucasfilm, to Disney, Disney immediately began work on creating new Star Wars content. Books, Comics, Video Games, TV shows, and of course, Films. A new trilogy of films was announced as well as the plan to create other films outside of the continuing “Episodes.” J.J. Abrams was handed the keys to the franchise and hired to direct Episode 7, The Force Awakens. Abrams brought Lawrence Kasdan on to help write the film. Kasdan had previously written Episodes 5 and 6. His one request for signing on was that they would give him the chance to write a Han Solo film. Disney agreed, and they began moving forward.
Chris Miller and Phil Lord
After the initial word broke that a Han Solo film was going to be made, many fans were skeptical that it could work. A lot of fans believed that there was no need to expand on the character in a film. They also were unsure if anyone could portray the character as well as Harrison Ford. Then it was announced that Chris Miller and Phil Lord would be directing and everyone let out a sort of sigh of relief. The directing duo has become well known for tackling ideas that on paper don’t seem as though they could work, and turning them into great films. 21 & 22 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs, all great films that seemed impossible before they made them work. With their names attached to the film, things seemed to be heading in the right direction.
In June of last year, Lucasfilm announced that Lord and Miller had departed the film due to creative differences. Two days later it was announced that Ron Howard had taken over as director of the film. Since then very little full details have been revealed on their departure, but based on everything reported and stated thus far it appears to literally just be creative differences. Lord and Miller had very different views on where the film should go, and the entire process for creating the film than what Lucasfilm wanted. Those differences eventually came to a head with them leaving the project, or being fired. It hasn’t exactly been revealed which side made the decision in the end.
Since then the biggest thing to change for the film was the loss of actor Michael K. Williams. He was originally cast as the main villain of the film, but when reshoots were needed after Ron Howard joined the film, he was unavailable to take part due to his schedule. Howard recast the role with actor Paul Bettany, and the film continued on. There have been reports that Howard shot 70% of the finished film. With 30% of the film consisting of Lord and Miller’s work. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s an obvious difference in those aspects, ala Justice League, but given the way Lucasfilm runs things, the film will hopefully tie together nicely no matter what.
The biggest question now is whether all of this was worth it. Lucasfilm is taking a bit of a gamble with this film, given that fans haven’t been as excited for it as they have the last three films (including Rogue One). But that being said, it does seem like it will be a rather decent film. How much of it is fan service and how much is actual good filmmaking, we’ll see.
Solo: A Star Wars Story begins early showings tonight and officially releases tomorrow May 25th. Check back with us over the next few days as we dive into the film a bit more.