After a weekend of people questioning whether Collin Trevorrow would be the right guy for the job on Episode IX Lucasfilm fired Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Untitled Han Solo movie. This is shocking on several levels and we are going to breakdown what we know so far and give a few opinions.
First lets look at the two “Official Statements”:
“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,” Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm
“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.” Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
The first thing first we know it’s not an issue around the performance of the actors or even the shots that are being produced as both have praise for the cast and crew. It’s all about the vision of this film and frankly I’m not surprised. Lord and Miller are known for comedy, goofy off the wall comedy, Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan have both described the film that was written as heist/western type film. These don’t mix unless you are planning it as almost a spoof and I seriously doubt that was the plan.
Now lets look at the two insider reports that show us two different view points, HollywoodReporter and Variety. According to both friction was there from the beginning but Lucasfilm let the directors do their thing, however the friction continued. According to Variety’s source who seems to come from Lord and Miller’s camp it seems like Lucasfilm, Kathy in particular, were not happy with how the movie was being filmed or how the dailies were looking and began to either micromanage or at least continue to pressure the directors to change course. Lord and Miller did not agree and wanted their vision. This is understandable to a point HOWEVER, the Hollywood Reporter source, apparently from Lucasfilm, says the directors’ vision was not consistent with both a Star Wars film and the character.
As said earlier the mix of the type of comedy that Lord and Miller are known for and heist movie don’t really mix. The reason they got the chance to direct the movie is Han Solo is a funny character. The problem is the type of funny that Harrison Ford and the writers brought to the character is different from the type of improv irreverent comedy that Lord and Miller are so good at. This is a fact that even Star Wars writers seem to have forgotten.
…not a retread that spends 2 hours showing us nothing new. I figured Red Cup would be the SW equivalent of "Guardians of the Galaxy."
— Claudia Gray (@claudiagray) June 21, 2017
Han Solo should not be the Guardians of the Galaxy type movie. There is definitely a place for that movie but I can’t see Han being that movie, maybe a Lando film but not Han. It’s important to remember that Han of A New Hope was kind of an ass. In fact he was bastard, that ended up coming back at the last minute to help his new friends. The Han we saw from then on out had changed and continued to grow as a person throughout the trilogy. Any Han we see pre-ANH has to be kind of a jerk! Sarcastic, a little mean, a braggart, and while funny not a comedic character. This misunderstanding of who Han is and what the character should be is likely the source of the problem, coupled with Lord and Miller’s refusal to listen to those that have shaped the character for four decades. I trust Kennedy and Kasdan with Han, and I believe that Kennedy gave Lord and Miller the opportunity to film this movie but she had to make a call and she made a decisive one. This wasn’t about Lucasfilm not allowing control, it was about making sure the character and the film got the very best representation in the final product, something it appears Lord and Miller were unable to pull off. If you have any doubts ask Rian.
I had as much creative control on TLJ as I've ever had on any of my own movies.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 21, 2017