‘Star Wars,’ Han Solo, and Ron Howard

By now, you’ve all heard that Ron Howard has replaced Phil Lord and Christopher Miller on the yet-to-be-titled Han Solo movie. My compatriots at Full of Sith gathered this week to talk about it, you can listen to that here, but there were a few key takeaways that I thought might be helpful to put out there:

First: this doesn’t necessarily mean the film is going to be doomed. Lucasfilm is taking the steps they feel are necessary to bring us the best film possible. That’s actually a good thing.

Second, Ron Howard is a pretty good director. He’s been a protege of George Lucas’s since he’s been making films (going all the way back to American Graffiti) and has made everything from Willow to Best Picture Winners. And if you look at his release patterns, he’s the sort of filmmaker who can slug a solid film out in a year. Right now, he has about 11 months before Han Solo hits screens and much of the groundwork has already been laid. He has at least two months of shooting he can do without asking for more and he has a Lawrence Kasdan script. 

Third, this sort of thing happens. It’s rare, but it happens. It even happened to a certain extent on Return of the Jedi. Richard Marquand had Lucas over his shoulder for much of the shoot and after he delivered his rough cut of the movie, he was sent on his way for Lucas to do his own thing with the final edit anyway. Star Wars films are made in casting and editing and there’s no reason to think this will be a disaster at this point.

Fourth, Alden Ehrenreich having an acting coach is not that big of a deal. Plenty of actors have acting coaches. Sometimes they’re credited, sometimes they’re not. But the idea that Lucasfilm hired him one isn’t a sign of disaster. It’s a sign that they’re giving the talent behind the film the tools they need to get the job done.

I’m not saying you can’t be nervous. I’m not saying you have to be excited about this movie. But what I am saying is that there’s no reason to panic. Not yet. 

That comes after you’ve seen the film. And if you didn’t like it, go ahead and panic. 

But maybe, just maybe, we’re focused too much on the sausage being made and not enough on the end result.