It was announced yesterday that the directors of the upcoming stand-alone Han Solo movie, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 and 22 Jumpstreet), have left the production, despite having already invested FOUR MONTHS in production (not PRE-production; actual production) efforts, including filming.
We could sit here and equivocate on the fact that both parties are using the “creative differences” schtick, even though Lord and Miller admit they hate that cliché (but who say it’s “true” for once), or we could look at another quote from an unnamed source that would seem to have a bit more importance to the casual, or not so casual, Star Wars fan: the fact that those differences included concerns that Han Solo is not a “comedic personality.”
I read that statement and I heard warning bells. The Star Wars franchise, for all its perceived narrative shortcomings and clunky, George Lucas dialogue, has never been accused of-or mistaken for-a comedic property.
The fact that this change of direction was pronounced enough to warrant a dissolution of the partnership between director and studios at this juncture is concerning. Frightfully so, in my opinion.
Production has been shut down for a few weeks while a new director is found and brought up to speed. Uh-huh. A hiring of this importance to Disney/Star Wars on such a short time frame?
A couple names being mentioned as replacement directors are Ron Howard, whose directorial resume speaks for itself, and Joe Johnston, who helmed the first Captain America film. If a decision needs to be made between those two, I’d skew toward Johnston, whose familiar in current Disney protocols through his Marvel involvement, and who will be asked to “fix” a film that is, effectively, expected to be a superhero-caliber movie.
Regardless, the trend of directors leaving productions due to “creative differences” is starting to get out of hand, forcing bastardized amalgams of movies into megeplexes around the world as studios try to play catch-up and do re-writes, re-shoots, and other creative gymnastics.
If a studio is going to invest millions of dollars in a film, the creative direction of the film should be clear during the hiring process of the director, not suddenly become an issue halfway through filming.