TV & FILM

Ron Howard and Kathleen Kennedy Talk ‘Solo’ Production Woes

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brian-mcgee - February 13, 2018

It came as a pretty big shock to everyone when Solo: A Star Wars Story directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were suddenly fired last summer, less than a year before the film was due in theaters. Speculation flew this way and that about the reasons why the change was made, with the unofficial reason seeming to be their over-reliance on improvisation and how that didn't gel with the writers and some of the cast. Most everyone has kept quiet about it since then, with Lord and Miller only making a superficial "no harm, no foul" type public statement.

Now that the hype machine is ramping up for the film's release, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and new director Ron Howard chatted with Entertainment Weekly about the situation. As you'll notice, they're overly gracious to the point of making you wonder if there's still more to the story than anyone's letting on...

“I just say over and over again that, yes, it was an incredibly difficult decision that we had to make and obviously it was pretty late in the game, which shows we spent a lot of time trying not to have to make that decision,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “And I think both Chris and Phil are enormously talented and incredibly funny. When all of this came together, all of us wanted nothing more than to have this be an incredible working experience. And when it was not working out as we had all hoped, it wasn’t out of lack of talent.”

Right, so nothing we didn't already know, beyond the humble brag about how she tried hard not to fire them. What say you, Opie?

“I know Chris and Phil. They’re incredibly talented guys, and all anyone at Imagine Entertainment wants to do is find a way to work with Chris and Phil, and that’s every bit as much the case today as ever,” (Howard) says. “But when I learned that this change was happening, it just came in a moment where I was working on lots of new projects for Imagine, and I had not planned to direct anything last year. So then this came my way, and I was talking to Kathy, and the now tragically late Alli Shearmur, an old friend. I was reluctant, but I also began to feel that I could help.

“It’s disappointing that any company ever feels like they have to make a change like that,” he says now. “It’s rough on everybody and disappointing for everybody, and I’ve just tried to come in and — of course, Phil and Chris’s fingerprints are all over the movie, given how much they put into it and the time they put into it. I hope fans won’t even think about how the movie was made. They should just lose themselves in it.”

Man, if ever there was a time for a Lucasfilm/sausage factory analogy, this would be it. Solo: A Star Wars Story: Don't Concern Yourself with What's in There, Just Swallow it Already opens on May 25, 2018.

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