Today, nerds around the globe felt a disturbance in the Force. I thought it was just a cramp. I was wrong.
The source came to light this morning with the shock announcement of directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord departing the still untitled Han Solo spin-off/origin film. They were let go from the project Monday morning due to ‘creative differences’, which is a really nice way for Disney to say: YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US ANYMORE.
This huge news comes after a discussion between the two directors, the Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and legendary writer Lawrence Kasdan (the mind behind Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark) this week about clashing vision and tone for the film, as well as a difference in understanding the central character. Tensions allegedly began back in February, but have come to a head this week with the dismissal.
Lord and Miller, who worked together previously on 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, have a comedy-centric, improvisational style of directing. They get an idea of what they want to do with a project and go along with what feels good – a formula which has been hugely successful for them in the past.
Fans were excited for this new take on the Star Wars story, especially as the humour in the prequels was jar-jar-jarring at best.Directors Phil Lord (left) and Chris Miller (right). Source: We Live Entertainment.
But Disney, true to form, have been playing it safe so far with the franchise and it looks like they’re sticking to their nerf-guns. After all, this isn’t the first time they’ve pulled a move like this. Rogue One went through extremely late re-writing and re-shooting and it was still a huge success. It seems Disney has struck a good formula, and have earned the right to make movies the way they want.
So how will this damage the Han Solo movie?
But it comes at a risk. Yes, any movie released under the Star Wars umbrella will always attract a huge crowd, but if they keep doing what they’re doing they run the risk of never actually DOING anything with the story. Without taking any risks with the material, they will never be able to make anything truly memorable. The last thing we want is the franchise to slip into watered down nothing.
At this point, the choice to let go of the directors seems like a fair call, but it leaves me wondering: why would they hire two directors with an already well established style and then fire them over their stylistic choices? Sounds to me like there was a lot more pressure from Kasdan than they’re letting on, and Kennedy ultimately decided to back him over the directors. Only time will tell whether this was the right choice.
Will it create issues with potential directors for the next round of Star Wars projects? Maybe. Can Disney bounce back from the brand damage of this move? Probably, if they throw enough money at it.
In the meantime, what will become of the project? Production is currently on hiatus while the shift is handled. Disney has reportedly already targeted their next choice of director and will need to ensure there is enough time to review and edit existing footage before any big decisions are made. The film is currently slated for a late release in May 2018, but will likely be pushed back.The pit and crew, source: digitalspy.com