Ron Howard emerges as frontrunner to direct Han Solo Star Wars film

Could the Apollo 13 director rescue the troubled project starring Alden Ehrenreich as the intergalactic smuggler?

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Oscar-winning director Ron Howard could be in talks to take over the Han Solo Star Wars film.

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Deadline reports that the man behind Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Rush is Disney’s favourite to replace Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directing duo dropped from the project earlier this week.

Filming’s been suspended since the two departed the film, but by letting the acclaimed director (and the narrator of Arrested Development) take over, Disney might be able to keep their May 2018 release date on track.

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Lord and Miller with their Han Solo cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Woody Harrelson

However, this rumour could be an Ackbar-style trap: Howard is already incredibly busy with other projects. He recently agreed to head a documentary about Luciano Pavarotti and is currently developing an adaptation of hit book Hillbilly Elegy. However, this is Star Wars. Wouldn’t any director put other projects on hold for a chance to tell the Han Solo story?

If Howard does board the film, it remains to be seen how he will work with the footage already shot by Lord and Miller. The “creative differences” between the two Jump Street directors and Star Wars bosses haven’t been fully explained, but it’s likely the pair’s comedic style clashed with a more serious vision of Solo by Lucasfilm.

The company are no strangers to turbulent dealings with their directors. Many of Rogue One’s extensive reshoots were undertaken not by helmer Gareth Edwards, but by the movie’s writer Tony Gilroy.

Whatever Disney decide, a replacement for Lord and Miller needs to be selected pronto, less than twelve parsecs at least.

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Help us, Ron Howard. You’re our only hope.