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A Great Disturbance: Han Solo Movie Lost Directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord Mid-Filming

I have a bad feeling about this.

There was already plenty of reason to be worried about a Han Solo backstory movie, if only because some things are best left to the imagination. But, we had allowed ourselves to be optimistic about it when Phil Lord and Chris Miller of The LEGO Movie, among other things, got involved. That was all thrown up in the air last night when news broke that Lord and Miller had left the project.

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It’s not that we don’t think anyone else could possibly make a good Han Solo movie, but the directing pair left the project in the middle of shooting, with only three weeks left on the original shooting schedule. The explanation offered by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was one of “creative differences,” which doesn’t do a whole lot to make us feel better, since that’s exactly what we’re concerned about: the directors fighting against what they saw as bad choices for the movie and getting fired as a result.

On the other hand, we can still hold onto hope that the creative vision that won out in the end will turn out to be the better one. Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan wrote the Han Solo flick with his son, Jon, and they’re in the running to take over the project—along with Ron Howard and Joe Johnston (The RocketeerJumanji)—according to The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline. THR even adds that it was Kasdan who had the disagreement with Lord and Miller that led to their departure, which bodes well for the possibility that the falling out will work to protect the franchise we love rather than hurt it.

From the unconfirmed details provided to THR, it sounds like the original directing duo was more interested in pushing a comedic angle on Han Solo’s character, while Kasdan had intended something a bit more “sarcastic and selfish.” That does sound truer to Han’s character, especially pre-A New Hope, but it also sounds like a more straightforward, expected approach—flying casual, if you will.

What remains to be seen is whether that’s for the best, or if something a bit different could’ve made for a more interesting movie while still feeling true to Han Solo. Three weeks of shooting, room for reshoots, and a full post-production schedule is plenty of time to pull things together around a unified vision for the movie, but it’ll have to turn out pretty great to stop us from wondering what might have been.

(image: Lucasfilm)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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