We’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Three months after they started shooting, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are unceremoniously exiting the Han Solo Star Wars spin-off movie, which stars Alden Ehrenreich and is set to be released next summer.
“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,” Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm said in a statement.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller added, “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."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lord and Miller’s exit may have been down to clashes between the directors and veteran Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan, who worked on the screenplays for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens and had a very specific tone in mind for his new Han Solo script.
Lord and Miller with their Han Solo cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Woody Harrelson
Meanwhile Lord and Miller reportedly had a slightly more comedic, improvisational style in mind for the prequel spin-off, causing friction on set that led to the pair leaving the project earlier this week.
Rumour has it that replacements being looked at include Ron Howard and Joe Johnston, with filming currently paused until a new director is appointed. Miller and Lord’s work may also be re-shot, suggesting the planned May 2018 release date may be delayed.
The move will come as a shock to fans who were looking forward to Lord and Miller’s more comic take on the Star Wars universe, with no word of on-set problems emerging in the months since shooting began in February.
And frankly, Lord and Miller’s exit will have some moviegoers reconsidering their interest in the film, with the pair’s previous critically-acclaimed projects –The Lego Movie and two films based on 80s TV series 21 Jump Street – convincing fans that they had the chops to turn odd, unappealing premises (which a Han Solo prequel is to many) into genuinely brilliant movies.
Still, it isn’t the first time Lucasfilm has flexed its muscles when it comes to directing talent, with Rogue One director Gareth Edwards reportedly sidelined in favour of Tony Gilroy when the latter was brought in to rewrite and oversee extensive reshoots before the film’s release last year. Chronicle director Josh Trank was also dropped from another unknown Star Wars spin-off (believed to be a film about Boba Fett) after the failure of his Fantastic Four film.
Whether this staff change will bring about the same critical and commercial success as Rogue One remains to be seen – but whatever the truth, it’s an uneasy day for Star Wars fans everywhere.