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It’s a special edition of The Week in Star Wars following the shock news from the Han Solo spin-off movie, along with some bits from The Last Jedi, Episode IX and more…
Before we kick things off, The Week in Star Wars celebrated it’s second birthday this week.
Thanks to everyone who has read any edition over the last two years
So, let’s talk about Han Solo. Although the event took place as early as Monday, it was revealed on Tuesday that Phil Lord and Chris Miller had been fired from the Han Solo spin-off movie. The films had been in production since February, and all reports suggest that there are still four or so weeks left of shooting, with five weeks of planned re-shoots. “Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that »
- Luke Owen
When it comes to sequels, there an expectation to raise the bar. If you think of some of the best sequels of all time, whether that's The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Aliens (to name a few), each film improved upon the foundation of the first in major ways. In the second part of our weekly Spider-Man retrospective series leading up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7th this summer, we take a look at how Sam Raimi raised the bar for not only Spider-Man movies, but the entire superhero genre itself with Spider-Man 2. The superhero sequel hit theaters on June 30th, 2004 (that's 13 years ago!), just a week before 4th of July, and it once again went on to set records at the box office and beyond. After Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man movie swung into theaters on May 2nd, 2002 and made movie history, »
- Dan Marcus
Star Wars star Mark Hamill was recently asked what the goofiest Star Wars toy was and his response is pretty awesome. The goofiest Star Wars toy or merchandise is quite a difficult question since there are so many weird toys and pieces of merchandise over the years. The George Lucas family action figures certainly come to mind, so does the Darth Vader/Death Star Transformer, the somewhat sexual C-3P0 tape dispenser, or maybe the Darth Vader toaster. There's honestly too many to count, but Hamill has a definitive answer on the subject.
Mark Hamill was asked by Scott Weinberg on Twitter which is the goofiest Luke toy or merchandise that he's ever seen. Luke Skywalker himself responded promptly that the winner was the Tauntaun with the open belly to sleep inside of. Hamill says this.
"Too many to choose just 1, but the Luke that could be removed from a disemboweled Tauntaun certainly comes to mind."
To be clear, Luke Skywalker didn't come with the toy Tauntaun, he was sold separately. But the ads on television and print definitely show Luke Skywalker chilling in the belly of a Tauntaun. The toy from The Empire Strikes Back let kids reenact the scene where Han Solo rescues Luke from freezing to death, and cuts open the belly of a Tauntaun so that Luke can keep warm in the snow. It's a very vivid and graphic scene and Kenner thought it would be an excellent idea to capitalize on the cutting open of an animal for survival. As children played with the bizarre toy over the months, the rubber belly of the Tauntaun started to turn to a yellow color, adding to the overall creepiness. Many years later a Tauntaun sleeping bag was manufactured for adults and children alike to reenact the gross scene in real-life, allowing people to sleep in the carcass of a Tauntaun.
Recently Star Wars fans have been able to buy a Lando Calrissian disguise kit, which consisted of an oversized fake mustache and even a Darth Vader burger from Burger King. The dark burger was only available in Belgium, but it consisted of a burger bun that was dyed black. If you were thinking of ways to make Burger King any less appealing, a black bun would be a good start. Another star to get many different types of toys and merchandise was R2-D2. There were action figures, remote control toys, cookie jars, t-shirts, coolers, and even an aquarium. Yes, an aquarium.
Next up, somebody should ask what Hamill's favorite Star Wars toy or merchandise is. In fact, it would be interesting to hear what most of the cast thinks of this question. While we wait in suspense for those answers to come in you can check out Kenner's original 1981 commercial promoting the Tauntaun as well as the Hoth Wampa. One of the kid actors says Wampa over and over and then you can see the Tauntaun toy in its full glory. Check out the video and Hamill's tweets below.
This one?? pic.twitter.com/fjeFM5cwuK
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) June 22, 2017 »
Though J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens was very well received by a good majority of fans and most critics, one common complaint was that it was far too similar to A New Hope in terms of its structure and plot. Because of this, a lot of people are hoping that when we return to that galaxy far, far away for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson will deliver something we haven’t seen before.
Though it’s too soon to know if that’ll indeed be the case, we’ve been told on numerous occasions now, by numerous people, that the next chapter will be different from what’s come before and will not just be a carbon copy of The Empire Strikes Back. While that’s all well and good, fans still have their hesitations – and understandably so – and the latest report to tumble of the rumor mill certainly won’t help them feel any better.
That’s because YouTuber Mike Zeroh, who’s been a bit hit and miss with his scoops in the past – so take this with a grain of salt – is claiming that The Last Jedi will end in a manner similar to the iconic sequel from Irvin Kershner. According to him, the conclusion of the film will leave the fate of Kylo and Rey unknown, with the audience wondering where each of them is going. Not only that, but apparently there will also be many questions unanswered by the time the credits roll, which won’t be wrapped up until Episode IX.
So, while Star Wars: The Last Jedi may not draw as much from The Empire Strikes Back as The Force Awakens did from A New Hope, that cliffhanger ending, with a ton of unresolved plot threads, definitely sounds familiar to how the 1980 sequel finished off, which is sure to leave some people unhappy.
What do you think, though? Is an open-ended conclusion the way to go for the next chapter in the saga, or would you rather something a bit more definitive? Sound off in the usual place with your thoughts, and if you’re curious to know how Rey will appear in The Last Jedi, Deviant Art user tyler-wetta has dreamed up a rather awesome fan poster (below) of the Jedi in training. »
- Matt Joseph
It's been less than 24 hours since Han Solo directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were unceremoniously fired from the Star Wars spin-off, but there are already three candidates that have emerged as front-runners to take over the production. New reports have surfaced which claim that Ron Howard, Lawrence Kasdan and Joe Johnston are currently in the mix as candidates for this coveted directing gig. LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy stated in her statement yesterday that a new director will be announced soon, but it remains to be seen how soon that announcement will come.
Deadline reports that Ron Howard is the front runner for the directing gig, while acknowledging that Lawrence Kasdan has been mentioned as a possible replacement. Another report from The Hollywood Reporter claims that Joe Johnston, who started his career by working on the visual effects for the original Star Wars trilogy, has also been mentioned as a possible replacement. That report also includes new details about how Lawrence Kasdan may not even be allowed to replace Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
There are already rules in place at the Director's Guild of America (DGA) that prevent anyone already working on a movie to take over for a director that is being replaced, with the only exception being for a "short-term emergency." Since Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote the Han Solo spin-off script with his son Jon Kasdan, these rules may prevent the filmmaker from stepping in as a director. Lawrence Kasdan had also revealed in 2015 that Han Solo: A Star Wars Story will be his last Star Wars movie, after writing or co-writing the screenplays for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he has also directed hits like Body Heat, The Big Chill and Silverado.
Whether it's Ron Howard, Joe Johnston or another filmmaker, whoever replaces Phil Lord and Chris Miller may not even get credit for his or her work. Given that they were fired with just a few weeks of the shoot left, LucasFilm would most likely prefer that the new filmmaker get director's credit, but since Phil Lord and Chris Miller were on set filming since February, which obviously gives them strong grounds for directorial credit, although the new director will oversee the post-production process and the reshoots which have already been scheduled for this summer. However, it's entirely up to the DGA, as to who gets directorial credit, and unlike the Writers Guild of America, there is no appeals process, meaning the DGA's decision is finale. It's also unlikely that the guild will give credit to Lord, Miller and their successor, since the DGA is already not terribly fond of two directors on one movie. The guild's rules state that there shall be only one director for film, but waivers can be granted, which have become more and more commonplace in recent years, especially for more established directorial teams.
Another report from The Hollywood Reporter speculates that Han Solo: A Star Wars Story may even become an "Alan Smithee" film, although that won't happen since that pseudonym has been discontinued since 2000. For decades, if a filmmaker was so unhappy with the final cut of the film that he wanted his name taken off, the name that was put on the film instead was "Alan Smithee." The name was discontinued in 2000 after the film Burn Hollywood Burn used Alan Smithee as an actual character, played by Eric Idle, and after the real meaning of the name became more well-known throughout Hollywood.
This report also states that, whoever takes over the project, will spend the next several weeks, with production shut down, to go over the footage that has already been shot, re-edit the material that has already been filmed and pick up production from there. Despite this unique setback, Han Solo: A Star Wars Story will not be moved from its May 25, 2018 release date, but that could change if it takes longer than planned to find a director. Still, with three solid candidates in play, we may hear who's directing this Star Wars movie sooner rather than later. »
A new leak is suggesting that Rian Johnson will have Star Wars: The Last Jedi end on a cliffhanger, much like The Empire Strikes Back. The Last Jedi is slowly getting closer to release and new leaks are springing up from all kinds of sources. Some of these sources are inside and some of them are just dudes in a basement somewhere pontificating or just flat-out making things up, trying to earn some YouTube cash. This leaker tends to ruffle some feathers whenever he pops up in Star Wars conversations, so we'll definitely take this one with a healthy loaf of portion bread.
Ladies and gentleman, I bring you the new leak from the infamous Mike Zeroh YouTube account. The intel this time around is coming from a French dubber and this dubber has shed some light on a possible ending for The Last Jedi. Zeroh says "apparently at the end of the film, the fate of Kylo Ren and Rey will be unknown. This will leave us wondering where Rey is going and where Ren is going." Now this does seem to indicate the presence of a cliffhanger in the movie, which would make it pretty close to The Empire Strikes Back, a movie that Rian Johnson has said that The Last Jedi will be nothing like. Reverse psychology perhaps?
Mr. Zeroh also claims Daisy Ridley (Rey) recently said that The Last Jedi will leave many unanswered questions, but there are also reports where the actress reveals that many questions will be answered. There seems to be a bit of a miscommunication going on in that department. The rest of the video is used as a device to try and figure out if Rey turns to the Dark Side and if Kylo Ren switches to the Force, which I have to say, sounds pretty ridiculous no matter how you slice it.
The new "leak" comes after it was revealed that Star Wars 9 director Colin Trevorrow requested that Last Jedi director Rian Johnson shoot an extra scene while they were in a certain location for a possible inclusion in star Wars 9. What that scene is, we may never know, but it was more about Trevorrow talking the collaborative spirit between himself, Johnson, and J.J. Abrams. Rian Johnson also made a small request from Abrams to swap out Bb-8 for R2-D2 on the journey to Ahch-To to meet up with Luke Skywalker, which hints that R2 will have more of a purpose on the island than previously thought.
Alright, so there's the leak, or speculation, or whatever you want to call it. It seems pretty unlikely that Rian Johnson would spend the earlier part of this year fighting off rumors of The Empire Strikes Back comparisons to go ahead a leave The Last Jedi as cliffhanger, exactly like how Empire ends. It would certainly be unexpected though. Watch Zeroh's video for yourself below and leave him a thumbs up or down, whatever. The next Last Jedi trailer is coming in July, but whether it will land at D23, or debut a week later at Comic-Con is anyone's guess at this point. »
A few days ago, my colleague Owen Gleiberman wrote a scathing essay questioning whether Colin Trevorrow was the right choice to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” suggesting that the “Jurassic World” helmer’s in-between indie, “The Book of Henry,” is such an abomination we have reason to think he could ruin the franchise that has already weathered the likes of Gungans and Ewoks.
It was a tough essay, so much so that I genuinely feared Trevorrow’s job could be in danger. And then a funny thing happened. “Star Wars” producer Kathleen Kennedy fired the directors on a completely different “Star Wars” movie, axing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo project. What!?!?
The universe needs directors like Lord and Miller more than ever these days — and not just the “Star Wars” universe, mind you, but the multiverse of cinematic storytelling in general. Lord and Miller represent that rarest of breeds: directors with a fresh and unique vision, backed by the nerve to stand up for what they believe in.
Just look at their track record: After starting their careers as TV writers (they created the MTV cartoon series “Clone High” and wrote for “How I Met Your Mother”), the duo made their feature directorial debut with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a wildly imaginative reinvention of a 32-page children’s book that heralded them as bold, outside-the-box comedy storytellers.
Then they made the jump to live-action, bringing their trademark brand of hip, pop-savvy self-awareness to the feature-length “21 Jump Street” remake. Few animation directors have survived the leap from animation to live-action (just consider the likes of “John Carter” and “Monster Trucks”), but Lord and Miller took to the new medium like naturals (technically, they had experience from their TV writing days — and I remember hearing stories that they’d actually taken a break from “Cloudy” to write an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” just so they wouldn’t lose their Writers Guild insurance benefits, but that’s another story about animators don’t enjoy the same protection in this industry).
“21 Jump Street” took the concept of a tired old ’80s TV show — two baby-faced cops go undercover as high-school students — and rebooted it with a playful twist, turning the ludicrous setup into one giant joke. Then came “The Lego Movie,” in which they cracked one of the weirdest assignments in 21st-century filmmaking — bring the popular line of kids toys to life — in a wholly original way, embracing the fact that Legos had spawned an almost cult-like sub-genre of fan films (to capitalize on the trend, the Lego company had even released a “MovieMaker Set” in 2000, complete with stop-motion camera and Steven Spielberg-styled minifigure) to make the ultimate wisecracking meta-movie.
After that string of successes, Lord and Miller had become two of the hottest names in town, able to pick their projects. But like so many directors of their generation — children of the ’70s whose love of cinema had been inspired by George Lucas’ game-changing space opera, what they wanted was to make a “Star Wars” movie. For a moment, that seemed possible, since the producers were hiring indie directors like Rian Johnson (“Brick”) and Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) to helm these tentpoles.
On paper, Lord and Miller’s irreverent sensibility seemed like a perfect match for Han Solo, the franchise’s most sardonic character. One has to assume that it was precisely that take Kathy Kennedy and the “Star Wars” producers wanted when they hired the duo. But this is where modern critics, columnists and the fan community at large fail to understand a fundamental change that is happening at the blockbuster level in Hollywood: These directors are not being chosen to put their personal stamp on these movies. They are being hired to do the opposite, to suppress their identity and act grateful while the producers make all the key creative decisions.
Want to know why Trevorrow was picked to direct “Jurassic World” when his only previous credit was a nifty little sci-fi indie called “Safety Not Guaranteed”? It’s because he plays well with others, willing to follow exec producer Steven Spielberg’s lead when necessary. Going in to the assignment, Trevorrow had no experience directing complicated action sequences or overseeing massive-budget special effects. He didn’t need it, because those aspects of the movie were delegated to seasoned heads of department, while Trevorrow focused on what he does best: handling the interpersonal chemistry between the lead characters. (Personally, I hold Trevorrow responsible for the decision to film Bryce Dallas Howard running in high heels, but not the turducken-like gag where a giant CG monosaur rises up to swallow the pterodactyl that’s eating Bryce’s assistant. Surely someone else oversaw that nearly-all-digital sequence.)
Independent schlock producer Roger Corman memorably observed that in the post-“Jaws,” post-“Star Wars” era, the A movies have become the B movies, and the B movies have become the A movies — which is another way of saying that today, instead of taking risks on smart original movies for grown-up sensibilities (say, tony literary adaptations and films based on acclaimed Broadway plays), the studios are investing most of their resources into comic-book movies and the equivalent of cliffhanger serials (from Tarzan to Indiana Jones).
To Corman’s equation I would add the following corollary: On today’s tentpoles, the director’s job is to take orders, while producers and other pros are called in to oversee the complicated practical and CG sequences that ultimately define these movies. It’s an extension of the old second-unit model, wherein experienced stunt and action-scene professionals handled the logistics of car chases and exotic location work — except that now, such spectacular sequences are the most important part of effects-driven movies. Meanwhile, the one ingredient the producers can’t fake or figure out on their own is the human drama, which is the reason that directors of Sundance films keep getting handed huge Hollywood movies: to deliver the chemistry that will make audiences care about all those big set pieces.
How times have changed: In the 1980s, the only one who would make a movie like “Fantastic Four” was Corman, which he did for peanuts, whereas two years ago, Fox dumped more than $125 million into the same property. And the director they picked? Josh Trank, whose only previous feature had been the low-budget “Chronicle.” Let’s not forget that Trank ankled his own “Star Wars” spinoff, which I suspect had everything to do with realizing what happens when forced to relinquish control of a project in which he’s listed as the in-title-only director.
Back in the ’60s, a group of French critics writing for Cahiers du Cinéma coined what has come to be known as “the auteur theory,” a relatively quaint idea that the director (as opposed the screenwriter, star or some other creative contributor) is the “author” of a film. In the half-century since, critics everywhere have fallen for this fantastical notion that directors have creative autonomy over the movies they make — when in fact, as often as not, that simply isn’t the case.
The auteur theory makes for a convenient myth, of course, and one that lazy critics have long perpetuated, because it’s much to difficult to give credit where it’s due when confronted with the already-cooked soufflé of a finished movie. Critics aren’t allowed into the kitchen, after all, and though countless chefs (or heads of department, to clarify the metaphor) contribute to any given film production, it’s virtually impossible to identify who was really responsible for the choices that make the film what it is.
How much of “Citizen Kane’s” creative genius can be attributed to cinematographer Gregg Toland? Would “Jaws” or “Star Wars” have been even half as effective without composer John Williams? Did editor Ralph Rosenblum save “Annie Hall”? And most relevant to the discussion at hand: Is it correct to think of “Rebecca” as an Alfred Hitchcock movie (he directed it, after all), or does the result more thoroughly reflect the hand of producer David O. Selznick?
This is all complicated by the fact that an entire class of filmmakers — the so-called “film-school generation” — seized upon the auteur theory, turning it into something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the likes of Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas and so on left their signature on the movies they made. Meanwhile, the Cahiers critics (several of whom went on to become directors, among them Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut) were protected by a uniquely French copyright law dating back to the 18th century, known as the “droit d’auteur,” which entitled them to final cut (a privilege precious few Hollywood directors have).
But these remain the exception, not the rule. In the case of the “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars” franchises, the director is decidedly not the auteur. To the extent that a single vision forms the creative identity of these films, it’s almost always the producer we should hold responsible. To understand that, we need only look back to the original “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” a movie “directed” by Irvin Kershner, but every bit George Lucas’ brainchild (he reportedly hand-picked Kershner for his strength with character development). The same goes for Richard Marquand on “Return of the Jedi.”
This shouldn’t be a scandalous revelation. It just doesn’t fit with the self-aggrandizing narrative that many directors have chosen for themselves. Yes, the 1989 “Batman” is without question “a Tim Burton movie”: Burton has such an incredibly distinctive aesthetic, and the personality to push it through a system that’s virtually designed to thwart such originality. But when it comes to the incredibly successful “X-Men” franchise, there’s no question that producer (and “Superman” director) Richard Donner deserves as much credit as those first two films’ director, Bryan Singer. Simply put, that franchise owes its personality to both of their involvement.
But when it comes to “Jurassic World,” that movie probably wouldn’t look much different in the hands of someone other than Trevorrow. And the same can almost certainly be said for the “Star Wars” movie he’s been hired to direct, because in both cases, it’s the producers who are steering the ship. When the stakes are this high, it would be downright reckless to give complete autonomy to relatively unproven directors.
That’s increasingly the case in Hollywood these days. Director Dave Green (who’d made a tiny Amblin-style movie called “Earth to Echo”) went through it on a franchise project produced by Michael Bay. He was tapped to helm “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” only to discover that he had no autonomy. Granted, Green was still wet behind the ears and had no experience with a nine-digit budget or big union crew. But that wasn’t the job, because Bay never expected him to handle everything. Instead, the producer pulled in more experienced professionals to oversee much of the action and visual effects, while Green followed orders and worked his magic with the actors.
You can bet Tom Cruise’s paycheck that the same thing happened on “The Mummy,” in which Alex Kurtzman is listed as director, but the producer-star was reportedly calling most of the shots. How appropriate that a Universal monster movie reboot should be the victim of what amounts to a kind of creative Frankenstein effect.
Likewise, Marvel has had more success (both financially and artistically) forcing directors to conform to an inflexible set of aesthetic guidelines than it did when art-house “auteur” Ang Lee experimented with his own ideas on 2003’s “Hulk.” And though Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón is celebrated for the personal touch he brought to the Harry Potter franchise, it was relatively malleable British TV director David Yates whom writer-producer J.K. Rowling approved to direct four more films in the series.
So where does that leave us with “Star Wars”? On one hand, it’s perfectly understandable that the producers would want Trevorrow to direct Episode IX, since he’s already demonstrated his capacity to play along with the producers. Meanwhile, it’s disheartening — but not altogether surprising — that a directorial duo as gifted as Lord and Miller have been fired from the Han Solo film, since they’ve been known to fight for the creative integrity of their vision.
But it’s a loss to the “Star Wars” world, since Lord and Miller’s previous credits demonstrate the kind of unique take they might have brought to the franchise. Warner Bros. trusted the duo enough on “The Lego Movie” to let them poke fun at Batman — arguably the studio’s most precious IP, previously rendered oh-so-serious in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Lord and Miller’s minifigure Dark Knight was a brooding egomaniac and the funniest thing about that film, so much so that Warners ran with it, producing a spinoff that stretched the joke to feature length.
Sony Pictures Animation (where Lord and Miller made “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) was similarly enthusiastic about their input on Spider-Man, greenlighting the pair’s high-attitude idea for an animated movie centered around Miles Morales, the Black Hispanic superhero who took over web-slinging duties after Peter Parker’s death. Though they’re not directing, the script is said to bear their fingerprints — which it seems is exactly what Kennedy and company don’t want on the Han Solo project.
With any luck, Lord and Miller will see the “Star Wars” setback as the opportunity that it is: Rather than being forced to color within the lines of a controlling producer’s vision, they can potentially explore the more individual (dare I say, “auteurist”?) instinct they so clearly possess on a less-protected property. Heck, maybe Sony’s Spider-Man project will be the one to benefit. Or perhaps they’ll be in the enviable position of pitching an original movie. Not all directors have such a strong or clear sense of vision that they can be trusted to exert it over a massive studio tentpole, but Lord and Miller are among the few actively reshaping the comedy landscape. Now is their moment, although as Han Solo would say, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”
Related stories'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)'Star Wars' Han Solo Film Loses Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller »
- Peter Debruge
It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Star Wars fans, as it was abruptly announced that the popular directing duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) are no longer at the helm of the as-yet untitled Han Solo movie – which is supposedly set to be the second Star Wars Anthology film. While the studio is apparently still insistent that the release date of May 2018 has not changed, the logistics of the situation is certainly cause for concern.
As it stands, the production seems to have been filming for between four and five months, and is reportedly less than a month away from finishing principal photography. Time for reshoots has been scheduled for later in the summer – as is the case for most big budget movies – but the directors have just been “let go.” It’s the timing of this drastic change that rings the loudest alarm bells for those that have been patiently waiting for a look at the early years of the beloved rogue, simply because Lord and Miller have clearly already done the larger share of the work. If, as they said in their statement, their “vision and process weren’t aligned with [their] partners” on the film, what effect has that incompatibility had on the months of footage already in the can?
If the creative conflict is indeed evident in the footage it is, perhaps, a positive move to have the filmmakers exit, stage left. With a few weeks of principal photography left, the entire reshoot schedule, and all of the post-production phase to work on, the replacement director – whoever it’s eventually revealed to be – still has a fighting chance of delivering a decent movie. But who might that replacement be?
We’ve already heard reports that Ron Howard is on the shortlist, but The Hollywood Reporter is now suggesting that two more names have cropped up – both of whom have a prior association with Lucasfilm and the Star Wars brand. Firstly, there’s Lawrence Kasdan, who’s rumoured to be the person with whom Lord and Miller found most of their creative differences on the Han Solo movie set.
Kasdan has four Academy Award nominations to his name, thanks to his work as both writer, producer and director of an impressive list of movies. Most significantly, with regard to Star Wars, however, Kasdan co-wrote the scripts for The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens – which means he’s been instrumental in crafting the character of Han Solo for decades. He also co-wrote the script for the Han Solo spinoff with his son, Jon. Kasdan is the obvious choice to take the reins, then – but the legality of such a move is in question, given that the Director’s Guild of America apparently has rules prohibiting a person already working on a film from stepping into the director’s seat.
Secondly, there’s Joe Johnston, who’s also an accomplished director in his own right. Apart from having helmed such effects-heavy fare as Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, The Rocketeer, Jumanji and Jurassic Park III, he also delivered Captain America: The First Avenger – arguably one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s also well-versed in the minutiae of Star Wars, having worked on A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, The Ewok Adevnture, Ewoks: The Battle For Endor, and Star Wars: Droids as – variously – visual effects operative, actor, production designer and writer.
If the goal is to bring in an experienced hand to steer the beleaguered Han Solo film over the finish line, while ensuring the movie remains true to the iconic character made famous by Harrison Ford, then Lucasfilm would do well to lock in Joe Johnston. At this point in the proceedings, however, the next developments are as unpredictable as the departure of Lord and Miller in the first place. »
- Sarah Myles
While we don’t know the exact details of their departure, save for reports that their style clashed with that of screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan’s vision for the movie, this does leave a huge hole in production; who will replace them? The movie is releasing in less than a year, and there is certainly time to finish production, but there is still a lot of work to do this early in the production process. As it happens, rumors of directors are already sprouting up, and the biggest name to be thrown around is none other than Ron Howard. According to Deadline, Howard is likely the man for the job.
Howard would be an excellent choice to step in and finish the movie. He has two Academy Award nominations, and one win (A Beautiful Mind). Obviously, the guy has talent. Also, Howard knows how to convey speed on screen. Remember Rush with Chris Hemsworth, and Daniel Bruhl? That movie had incredible racing sequences, and we know that Han Solo is going to feature plenty of high-speed action. Howard is the sure-bet.
Also rumored are directors Lawrence Kasdan and Joe Johnston. Kasdan was co-writer for the Han Solo movie, as well as The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens; The man clearly understands the universe, and can step right in (although DGA rules may complicate matters, as they state that someone already working on a movie cannot replace an outgoing director). Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Rocketeer) is another Star Wars veteran, working on the visual effects for The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Both would be great to keep the movie on track, and possibly improve on it.
Of the names rumored, there really is no bad choice. Does Disney go with a man who has won an Oscar for directing, or two men who know the universe like the back of their hand? Who would you like to step in to direct the Han Solo spinoff? Let us know in the comments below…
Han Solo stars Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) as the famous smuggler, Donald Glover (Atlanta) as Lando Calrissian, Woody Harrelson (War for the Planet of the Apes) as Beckett (Solo’s mentor), Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Thandie Newton (Westworld), Ian Kenny (Sing Street) and Michael K. Williams (The Night Of) in as-yet-unrevealed roles. It is set for release on May 25th 2018.
… You can find Jordan on Twitter (@JordJJones), and Facebook. »
- Jordan Jones
Han Solo movie director? Who could replace the departed Lord & Miller? We throw some options into the ring.
We reported very early this morning that Phil Lord and Chris Miller had sadly left the in-production Star Wars spin-off movie based around the character of Han Solo. It’s a great shame as the work that the duo have done on the likes of The Lego Movie and the ‘Jump Street’ films seemed to fit the world of Han Solo perfectly. Our Han Solo movie director choices are below.
Lord & Miller’s leaving of the project as it was shooting here in London was a surprise, and supposedly due to those dastardly creative differences that dog many productions as creatives and execs butt heads. While this is clearly nobody’s fault in particular, it’s a big problem for the studio as production delays lead to big costs, and a new director will need to be found pretty darned quickly.
The film is actually months into production in London, and we’re already hearing rumblings that Ron Howard is being closely tied with the project. While his involvement could be confirmed (or denied) any minute, we thought we’d take a look at who could possibly replace Lord and Miller on the Han Solo movie and fit the mould that this particular kind of film craves.
Let’s kick off with the name that is already being associated with the movie. Ron Howard seems like a very safe choice to take the directing reigns on the project, and he’s obviously an accomplished filmmaker more than capable of guiding a film that is part-way through production home. Howard has many big-scale projects in his back catalogue; from the likes of the Robert Langdon trilogy; The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and last year’s Inferno, 2015’s In The Heart Of The Sea and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, to more intimate affairs such as A Beautiful Mind. Let’s not forget, he has a huge history of comedic movies too, hailing all the way back to Parenthood in the 1990s, Matthew McConaughey-led EdTV, and more recently The Dilemma.
Of course, Howard’s biggest asset from his back-catalogue is his ties with George Lucas with the fantastical cult hit Willow. With his affiliation and previous history with the studio, the fact that he is currently free (despite having some commitments to a biopic on opera star Luciano Pavarotti) and his amazing film-making skill, his involvement is a dead cert – as long as the terms are right, of course.
With the project many months into production and development having kicked off well over twelve months ago, it may be important to bring someone in who knows the film inside out, and there’s nobody who knows it more that its screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. Kasdan also wrote Star Wars movies The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, The Force Awakens, so his familiarity with the franchise is unparalleled. With eleven credits to his name as director, Kasdan is also an accomplished filmmaker with a steep history in the western genre over the years, so he could be a good fit.
Kasdan has already proved he can direct grand scale movies (Wyatt Earp) as well as comedies (The Big Chill), and although he hasn’t helmed a film since 2012, he could step out of the gates and own this one completely.
Article continues : Who will be the new Han Solo movie director >>>
The post 5 Directors Who Could Replace Lord & Miller On The Han Solo Movie appeared first on The Hollywood News. »
- Paul Heath
After more than four months of production, Lucasfilm officially announced that directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left the Han Solo: A Star Wars Story project in the midst of shooting, citing creative differences. As it turns out, Lord and Miller were fired by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. And on Monday, Kennedy released a statement stating that a replacement will be announced soon. The news came during a short hiatus, to review what had been shot so far, and to reportedly clear the air.
An inside source close to the Han Solo movie has told The Hollywood Reporter that the directors were let go for attempting to add too much humor into the character of Han Solo. Lord and Miller (21 Jumpstreet, The Lego Movie) come from a comedic background and seemed like an odd choice from the get go. The inside source added that "people need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He's sarcastic and selfish." Something the two directors apparently didn't understand.
The inside source claims that Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were "blindsided" by their firing. The directors had relocated their families to London for the initial production of the project all the way through until now. But another anonymous source is disputing that bit of intel. It has been reported that the friction between the directors and Lucasfilm began almost immediately. But it was assumed that whatever differences there were, could be worked out over time. It has also been reported that Lord and Miller did not feel like they had total support from producer Allison Shearmur, Lucasfilm's acting representative on set for the project. In addition, the visions of the directors reportedly clashed with Lawrence Kasdan who wrote The Empire Strikes Back as well as the script for the Han Solo movie with his son, Joe Kasdan.
Apparently, Disney and Lucasfilm have already chosen a replacement and according to the sources, Ron Howard's name has come up a number of times, which could be an intriguing idea. Ron Howard has a history with Lucasfilm, and in 1988 he directed the fantasy adventure Willow for creator George Lucas, which many complained was a Star Wars rip-off. The other name that has popped up is Kasdan, which would make more sense, since he is so close to the project already. And he already has a rich history within the Star Wars universe. Not to mention he's directed a number of classic movies. It's clear that whoever steps in and takes over has quite a lot of work to do in order to keep the project moving forward.
Most of this information comes from anonymous sources, so the information should be taken as such. This is all current speculation as the news is still fresh. But it does not appear that Lucasfilm is intent on shutting down production for too much longer. Lucasfilm and Disney were in a similar situation, but a lot further down the line, when they took Gareth Edwards out from Rogue One at the last minute. They brought Tony Gilroy into rewrite and direct a large amount of reshoots to get the movie to fit in line with Lucasfilm's vision. The decision paid off well for both Disney and Lucasfilm since the movie went on to be a hit that was praised both by critics and most fans. The current news is not expected to affect the release of the movie on May 25th, 2018. More updates coming soon. »
Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s reputation for writing irreverent, poppy films such as “21 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie” helped the white-hot writing and directing duo land one of the most coveted gigs in Hollywood — a chance to call the shots on a “Star Wars” film.
But their chance to put their stamp on a galaxy far, far away collapsed on Tuesday with the stunning announcement that the pair would be departing the still untitled Han Solo spin-off movie in the midst of production. Their exit comes after months of conflict with producer Kathleen Kennedy, others from her LucasFilm team, and co-writer and executive producer Lawrence Kasdan, and the two directors hired to infuse the “Star Wars” universe with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility. »
- Brent Lang
“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, in a statement released Tuesday on the official Star Wars web site.
“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,” added Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Sources say Ron Howard is in talks to take over the film, but there is no deal as yet.
The film started principal photography on Feb. 20 at London’s Pinewood Studios, with Alden Ehrenreich starring in the origin story about the character first made famous by Harrison Ford in 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
Disney and Lucasfilm hired Lord and Miller — who had gained acclaim for directing “The Lego Movie” and the two “21 Jump Street” films — in July, 2015. Also starring are Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams, Ian Kenny, Emilia Clarke and Joonas Suotamo.
Lord and Miller said on Feb. 20 as part of the start of production announcement, “Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous. We can’t think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky.”
The Han Solo film is still in production with several weeks of re-shoots planned for the summer — which have long been planned. Disney said Tuesday that the Han Solo standalone remains slated for a May 25, 2018, release date but declined to elaborate further.
The script is written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan. The story focuses on how the young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley in “A New Hope.” Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote other franchise entries “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “The Force Awakens.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call in March that the movie would cover Solo’s life from when he was 18 to 24, revealing how he came to own the Millennium Falcon as well as how he met his Wookie sidekick, Chewbacca. Glover has been cast as the young Lando Calrissian, who operates in the underworld, while Harrelson is playing a criminal and mentor to Han Solo. Suotamo is playing Chewbacca.
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Allison Shearmur, the Star Wars spin-off takes place before the events of the original movie “A New Hope” — similar to the time frame of the recent spin-off, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” which was the first of three stand-alone “Star Wars Anthology” movies. Released in December and directed by Gareth Edwards, “Rogue One” grossed $1.05 billion worldwide as the eighth film in the Star Wars franchise.
Disney and Lucasfilm are releasing “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Dec. 15 with Rian Johnson directing from his own script in a story that will follow the events of 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” They are also in pre-production on “Star Wars: Episode IX,” to be directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, to be released on May 24, 2019.
Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in October, 2012, and announced at that point that it would be releasing a trilogy of films in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Iger first announced plans for spinoffs in early 2013.
Disney announced early last year that “Star Wars: Episode VIII” had been pushed back from May 26, 2017, to the current Dec. 15 release date. The film, subsequently retitled “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, who were all introduced in “The Force Awakens.”
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- Dave McNary
Not For Critics
It’s becoming a cliched response for directors, but Alex Kurtzman has played the “not for critics” card following the poor reviews for The Mummy. Although completely asinine, this isn’t the first time a filmmaker has fired back at critics for not liking their films, claiming they were made “for the fans” (which suggests that critics aren’t fans and that “real fans” will accept any old bollocks put in front of them). “I’m not making movies for [critics],” he told Business Insider. “Would I love them to love it? Of course, everybody would, but that’s not really the endgame. We made a film for audiences and not critics so my great hope is they will find it and they will appreciate it.” Read more here.
Landis Fires Back… Again
- Luke Owen
Thanks to Star Wars collector Gus Lopez, we’ve got a rather interesting look at some of legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie’s early logo designs for 1980’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back thanks to a series of rough sketches, all of which are very different from the iconic logo which McQuarrie and George Lucas eventually settled upon. Check them out here…
Given how iconic the logo for The Empire Strikes Back has become, it’s difficult to imagine any of these working as well as the final design, but do let us know your thoughts on these unused sketches in the comments below…
- Gary Collinson
Heads up, Star Wars fans, because this is pretty cool. While we wait for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to hit theaters on December 15, which simply can't come soon enough at this point, we can take a look at these alternative logos that were done by Ralph McQuarrie for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. And they are quite a bit different than what we ultimately ended up with.
The art made its way online courtesy of Star Wars fan Gus Lopez, who posted the artwork to his Instagram page. The image features several concept sketches done by Ralph McQuarrie for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back before settling on a logo design. There are several different options here and they all vary quite a bit from what ended up being used for the marketing materials. Though, the two at the top left look like they could »
Carrie Fisher died of sleep apnea and a number of other factors, officials said on Friday, but could not come to a definitive cause of death after an examination.
Fisher died on Dec. 27 at the age of 60. The examination by the Los Angeles County of Medical Examiner-Coroner also cited “multiple drug intake” and atherosclerotic heart disease, but did not specify further.
“The manner of death has been ruled undetermined,” said the release. Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, issued a statement to People addressing the “drug use” portion after the release of the report.
Carrie Fisher’s Collections to Be Auctioned in September
“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it,” she said. “She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases.”
“She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases, »
- Alex Stedman
Back in April, during an interview at Star Wars Celebration, actor Mark Hamill made some controversial comments about director Rian Johnson, revealing that he "fundamentally disagreed" with everything the director decided about his iconic Luke Skywalker character. Many interpreted the actor's comments as criticism leveled against the director, in regards to his vision for the character. As it turns out, that couldn't be farther from the truth, with Mark Hamill recently clarifying those comments in a new interview. Here's what he had to say about his Star Wars: The Last Jedi director below.
"Rian Johnson is an amazing filmmaker, and if you look at Brick or Brothers Bloom or Looper, each film is different from the last one and they're so inventive. I think people will be pleased and surprised, I know I was. I got in trouble, because I was quoted as saying to Rian that I fundamentally disagree »
Sideshow has unveiled its upcoming Luke Skywalker Premium Format figure which is based on the likeness of Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. The collectible stands at around 20 inches tall and is available to pre-order now, priced at $559.99 and is expected to ship April-June 2018; take a look at the official promotional images here…
See Also: Pre-order via Sideshow Collectibles
Based on his appearance in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the Luke Skywalker Premium Format Figure has a detailed, life-like portrait that captures the likeness of Mark Hamill. Standing at about 20” in height, Luke prepares to meet his destiny on a Cloud City base inspired by his famous duel with Darth Vader. The statue has an authentic Episode V costume sewn with fabric and pleather elements, with realistic fatigue to show just how far Luke has come in his quest to become a Jedi. »
- Amie Cranswick
It’s Summer, so you know what that means… New Lego sets.! And this Summer has seen a bevy of new Star Wars themed sets hit the shelves, including what has to be one of the best-value licensed sets ever released: the Bounty Hunter Speeder Bike Battle Pack!
Lego’s line of “battle packs” are an interesting proposition for mini figure collectors. Whilst the sets are typically packed with four figures, most of them are army-building figures at best (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing). However it’s all change when it comes to this latest battle pack, which includes four unmissable minifigures.
Yes, the Lego Star Wars Bounty Hunter Speeder Bike Battle Pack (that’s a mouthful) is packed with bounty hunter mini figures – as the [obvious] name suggests – including a couple of my favourites from the old Kenner toy line: Bossk and Dengar, who I distinctly remember »
- Phil Wheat
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