It was announced today that the directors of the Han Solo spin-off film, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, have parted ways with Lucasfilm and the film. The following statements were released on StarWars.Com:
“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.
“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,” stated Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
And, to be honest, I'm not sure there's any cause for alarm yet.
Lucasfilm has been sure to give the filmmakers every tool they need to fulfill the vision of the film that Lucasfilm wants to create. These two weren't hired to create their own vision of Star Wars, they were hired to bring to life the vision of Lawrence Kasdan and his son, who wrote the screenplay. Their casting has been spot on, the film is mostly shot, if they all decided to amicably part ways, then this is a sign that Lucasfilm will do whatever it takes to create the best film possible, not that the film is doomed.
Traditionally in Star Wars, the head of Lucasfilm has held more power on the films than the individual directors and I'm confident that the good of the film is what's being protected here. In fact, it's refreshing to see them willing to take the steps to correct course sooner rather than later. Imagine what could have happened if other studios had the courage to remove a director when they were in the midst of making a terrible film, rather than simply release a terrible film?
I have confidence that this is not the end of the world.
And Lucasfilm is confident enough in the product that they aren't changing the release date at this point.
UPDATE: It's also important to note that many great films have had directors replaced during shooting. Gone With The Wind and Wizard of Oz might be the best examples. But this is the Pixar model, right? They've done this with Toy Story 2 and Ratatouille. Spartacus and The Outlaw Josey Wales are other prime examples of this happening. Although Eric Stoltz wasn't the director, it seems like replacing the lead three weeks into shooting would be more damaging than this, but Back to the Future still turned out just fine.
Tags: star wars