We're mere weeks away from finding out whether or not Lucasfilm is able to fix the incredibly boxed production with Solo: A Star Wars Story. The drama surrounding this movie was huge with the shock of the late stage firing leading many to question whether or not this would even work as a movie let alone a Star Wars movie. The detail concerning the firing have been scarce but we got some new ideas from the latest piece in the Wall Street Journal. It started when previous directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and writer Lawrence Kasdan started not seeing eye to eye anymore.
But as the film moved toward production in January 2017, they clashed with Kasdan over the script, according to some of the people close to the movie. Tensions rose once shooting started, as the "Solo" directors sometimes shot dozens of different versions of scenes, straying from what was in the script. While such retakes are common in the modern comedies that launched Miller and Lord's careers, they exhausted and frustrated some on the "Solo" set, including experienced crew members who pressured the directors to move faster, according to actors in the film.
Things didn't get better there as the production continued. Kasdan continued to not agree with Lord and Miller while Lord and Miller were starting to feel undermined which left everyone in set unhappy. Kathleen Kennedy eventually deciding that firing the duo was the best move for the production though this seems to indicate that this was far from mutual.
Last spring, Kasdan came to the London set and location shooting in the Canary Islands. At times he told cast and crew members when he disagreed with Lord and Miller's choices, people close to the directors said. The filmmakers felt undermined, these people said, but wanted to complete production. In June, Kennedy concluded her differences with the directors had grown too vast and fired them. Lord and Miller knew Kennedy was unhappy but were making adjustments and were surprised when they were axed, one of the people close to the production said.
Kennedy brought on Ron Howard after the firing. Howard, who had worked with George Lucas on American Grafitti. There also appeared to be some age related issues with Kennedy preferring the way the older Howard worked compared to Lord and Miller's approach as younger men.
Within days, Kennedy hired Howard, who like her and Kasdan rose to filmmaking fame in the 1980s and '90s when Miller and Lord were children. Howard worked faster than his predecessors, sometimes reshooting scenes in a few hours that Lord and Miller spent a whole day on, one of the "Solo" actors said. About 70% of the finished movie came from scenes Howard shot, another person close to the production said.
It all came down to tone while Howard seemed more keen to play things safe Lord and Miller wanted to try something different.
"Ron wanted to go back to the spirit of the original trilogy, while Phil and Chris were looking forward to something new, more like 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' " this person said.
It's a shame that Lucasfilm wasn't willing to let Solo have a radically new tone. A Star Wars movie is going to make money simply by being a Star Wars movie and these anthology movies seem more keen to play things safe than take risks which seems to be the opposite of the original intention. Both Solo and Rogue One were changed to feel more like Star Wars films while The Last Jedi is one of the episodic films, the ones that were going to play it safe, and is the most risky entry into the franchise. It's an odd approach.
Summary: During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, stars Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Thandie Newton. It will be released May 25th.