Citing "creative differences," Phil Lord and Christopher Miller get fired by Lucasfilm
Disney’s reboot of the Star Wars franchise has felt a massive disturbance in the force as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, co-directors on the forthcoming Han Solo spin-off, were fired from production by Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy.
The filmmakers, best known for The LEGO Movie, were reportedly let go after months of production and film, with serious creative difference with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan cited.
Kasdan, who has writing credits on Star Wars Episodes V, VI and 2015’s The Force Awakens, is widely credited with having defined the character Han Solo while working on the scripts of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Together with his son Jon, Kasdan penned the screenplay of the as-yet-untitled Han Solo feature, set for release in 2018.
Production on the film started as early as January, but reports have emerged of several clashes on set, in large part due to tonal differences; Lord and Miller, who cut their Hollywood teeth on the likes of 21 Jump Street and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, want the Han Solo film to be comedic, while the Kasdans have their own very specific image of character made famous by Harrison Ford.
Kathleen Kennedy, handpicked by Star Wars-creator George Lucas to take over as the head of Lucasfilm, ultimately threw her weight behind Lawrence Kasdan, who has been part of the behind-the-scenes Star Wars family for three decades.
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project,” Lord and Miller said in a joint statement.
“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.”
Production on the film, which started filming at the franchise’s long-term base at London’s Pinewood Studios under the working title Star Wars: Red Cup, is now on hiatus as the search begins for a new director to step in.
Names believed to be in contention include Oscar-winner Ron Howard, best known for A Beautiful Mind and Frost/Nixon, and Joe Johnston, best known for Jumanji and Captain America: The First Avenger.
Starring Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, the film was due for release in May next year. But now Ehrenreich and co-stars Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are all now waiting to see what solution Lucasfilm comes up with.