Ron Howard has been named as the new director of Lucasfilm and Disney’s untitled Han Solo movie, sources tell to The Hollywood Reporter exclusively. The official announcement is expected Thursday morning.
The move comes two days after directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were let go from the movie they had spent over four-and-a-half months directing. Creative differences over style and tone came to a head between the duo and Lawrence Kasdan, with the studio backing the veteran screenwriter.
The firing sent shockwaves around Hollywood and beyond as the movie was about three-quarters through principal photography and the replacement of a director at that stage is near-unprecedented.
Howard, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, will meet with the actors — Alden Ehrenreich is playing the iconic smuggler, Donald Glover is playing Lando Calrissian, with Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Thandie Newton also on the roll call — to soothe a rattled set and will pore over a rough edit to see what the project has and still needs.
The movie was scheduled to shoot for three-and-a-half more weeks, with five weeks of reshoots built into the schedule — the latter a standard procedure on large franchise productions.
Howard, who won an Oscar for directing 2002’s A Beautiful Mind, comes to the Han Solo film with several connections to George Lucas and the worlds of Lucasfilm. He appeared in Lucas’ 1973 breakout film American Graffiti, and implemented Lucas’ 1988 pet fantasy project Willow as helmer. Howard also revealed on a podcast in 2015 that Lucas had approached him to direct 1999’s Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace.
Howard is considered to be a safe choice to complete the task, someone who will more than ably finish the movie while being a calming presence on set.
Howard’s recent movies include Inferno and In the Heart of the Sea, costly ventures that have underperformed at the box office.