Ron Howard Talks Taking the Han Solo Directing Job

In the wake of the departure of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars movie, Lucasfilm has chosen Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard (A Beautiful MindThe Da Vinci Code) to take over the troubled project. After the official announcement yesterday, Howard spoke out to the press today (via Variety) about taking the Han Solo directing job.

“It’s a little opportunity that came my way,” Howard said. “I’ve been a fan forever. It’s gratifying to be asked to lend my voice to the [Star Wars] universe. So many people involved in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise are friends. It’s already been in production, and there’s a lot of really great work there.”

The director also took to Twitter, where he reiterated the key idea that he likes much of the work that Lord, Miller and their cast and crew have done already, which may signal a more piecemeal approach to reshoots as opposed to a top-to-bottom overhaul.

With the unprecedented situation of taking over a film three-quarters through shooting, Howard will be placed in the delicate situation of inheriting a cast and crew still rattled by the abrupt firing of Lord and Miller, whose directing style and tonal ideas earned the ire of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Howard will work with Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to figure out what needs fixing, and will look over a rough cut of the film and meet with the cast this week. Just three weeks were left of the film’s principal photography, with five weeks of reshoots already built into the schedule for later this year. Filming will resume on July 10.

It remains to be seen how the situation will evolve, and whether Han Solo can keep its previously-announced May 25, 2018 release date. A lot will depend on whether Howard decides to scrap most or all of what’s been shot, or simply reshoot certain sections. There’s also the question of Director’s Guild credit, should a good deal of Lord and Miller’s footage survive.

Howard himself has a long history with Lucasfilm, having starred in George Lucas’s 1973 smash American Graffiti, and he directed the Lucas-penned 1988 fantasy Willow. Howard was also reportedly asked at one point in the late ’80s by Lucas to direct what became 1999’s The Phantom Menace, but declined.

The untitled Han Solo film is set to feature Hail, Caesar‘s Alden Ehrenreich as Han, with Atlanta‘s Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and The Force Awakens‘ Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. Woody Harrelson is attached to play Han’s mentor, a man by the name of Beckett, while Game of ThronesEmilia Clarke, Westworld‘s Thandie Newton, The Wire‘s Michael K. Williams and Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge are set for undisclosed roles.