“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,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, in a statement released Tuesday on the official Star Wars web site.
“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,” added Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Sources say Ron Howard is in talks to take over the film, but there is no deal as yet.
The film started principal photography on Feb. 20 at London’s Pinewood Studios, with Alden Ehrenreich starring in the origin story about the character first made famous by Harrison Ford in 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
Disney and Lucasfilm hired Lord and Miller — who had gained acclaim for directing “The Lego Movie” and the two “21 Jump Street” films — in July, 2015. Also starring are Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams, Ian Kenny, Emilia Clarke and Joonas Suotamo.
Lord and Miller said on Feb. 20 as part of the start of production announcement, “Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous. We can’t think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky.”
The Han Solo film is still in production with several weeks of re-shoots planned for the summer — which have long been planned. Disney said Tuesday that the Han Solo standalone remains slated for a May 25, 2018, release date but declined to elaborate further.
The script is written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan. The story focuses on how the young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley in “A New Hope.” Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote other franchise entries “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “The Force Awakens.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call in March that the movie would cover Solo’s life from when he was 18 to 24, revealing how he came to own the Millennium Falcon as well as how he met his Wookie sidekick, Chewbacca. Glover has been cast as the young Lando Calrissian, who operates in the underworld, while Harrelson is playing a criminal and mentor to Han Solo. Suotamo is playing Chewbacca.
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Allison Shearmur, the Star Wars spin-off takes place before the events of the original movie “A New Hope” — similar to the time frame of the recent spin-off, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” which was the first of three stand-alone “Star Wars Anthology” movies. Released in December and directed by Gareth Edwards, “Rogue One” grossed $1.05 billion worldwide as the eighth film in the Star Wars franchise.
Disney and Lucasfilm are releasing “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Dec. 15 with Rian Johnson directing from his own script in a story that will follow the events of 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” They are also in pre-production on “Star Wars: Episode IX,” to be directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, to be released on May 24, 2019.
Iger said in 2016 that Disney and Lucasfilm were planning on a third Star Wars Anthology stand-alone with a 2020 release date but the studio has not provided further details.
Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in October, 2012, and announced at that point that it would be releasing a trilogy of films in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Iger first announced plans for spinoffs in early 2013.
Disney announced early last year that “Star Wars: Episode VIII” had been pushed back from May 26, 2017, to the current Dec. 15 release date. The film, subsequently retitled “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, who were all introduced in “The Force Awakens.”