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Ron Howard to direct Han Solo ‘Star Wars’ movie

Ron Howard replaces co-directors Phil Lord and Chris

Ron Howard replaces co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller ("The Lego Movie," "21 Jump Street") in the untitled "Star Wars" film, which stars Alden Ehrenreich ("Hail, Caesar!") as a young Han Solo. Credit: AP

Oscar-winner Ron Howard is replacing the team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller as director of the upcoming Han Solo “Star Wars” movie.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement Thursday that Howard, 63, “will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.” The movie remains slated for release May 25, 2018.

Kennedy had announced on Tuesday that Lord and Miller, who co-wrote and directed “The Lego Movie” and codirected “21 Jump Street” and its sequel, “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.” The filmmakers added that, “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.”

Variety said Thursday that at issue was Lord and Miller’s trademark humor and their encouragement of actors’ on-set improvisation, while “Star Wars” veteran Lawrence Kasdan — one of the executive producers, who wrote the script with son Jon Kasdan — insisted on strict fidelity to the script.

The untitled film, chronicling the early days of space smuggler Solo and his alien Wookiee sidekick, Chewbacca, began principal photography under Lord and Miller on Feb. 20 at Pinewood Studios, London. Variety said Thursday that shooting was about three-quarters completed, with several weeks left plus five scheduled weeks of reshoots planned for later this year.

Following reports in May 2016 that Alden Ehrenreich would play Solo, Lucasfilm confirmed the “Hail, Caesar!” actor’s casting in July, when it officially announced the movie. Donald Glover later was cast as young Lando Calrissian, with Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson joining afterward.

Howard won Academy Awards as director and as a producer of Best Picture “A Beautiful Mind” (2001).


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