Star Wars: Han Solo – New details emerge from Lucasfilm’s firing of Lord and Miller


Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in! Several new details from Lucasfilm’s firing of writing/directing team Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have emerged…

In a telling piece from The Hollywood Reporter, several all-new details from the fiasco of Lucasfilm’s ousting of the directing team behind The LEGO Movie and 21 Jumpstreet, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, from the second Star Wars standalone film — the still untitled Han Solo — new details shine a light on several troubling problems.

Problems that — despite Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s many attempts to work with Lord and Miller to address them —  have come to cast serious doubt on Lucasfilm’s mandate to find fresh, new and exciting directors to bring all-new Star Wars stories to a hungry fanbase desperate for more.

THR talked to a source involved with the Han Solo project, who had detailed information about what really happened.

And, when Lucasfilm broke the news to the crew that Ron Howard had been selected to replace Lord and Miller, they were said to have broken out in applause. Yeah, that sounds like things had been sour, on set, for quite some time. Here’s a breakdown of how it all went down, according to THR’s insider sources:

  • There had been a storm brewing on the Han Solo project ever since Lord and Miller arrived on set. The pair constantly ignored Kathleen Kennedy’s guidance, as well as that of legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back). Things came to a head in mid-June.

The Millennium Falcon as seen in Star Wars: A New Hope. Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

"[Lord and Miller] were in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon but didn’t start shooting until 1 p.m. That day the two used only three different setups–that is, three variations on camera placement–as opposed to the 12 to 15 that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had expected, according to sources with knowledge of the situation."

  • The strange “three-angle” camera process caused a slowdown on set, and it did not provide many options for the editors of the film.
  • Kasdan was not pleased by what he’d seen, in the dailies sent to his California home, from Pinewood Studios in London.
  • Lord and Miller were not happy, either. According to THR’s source, there were “deep fundamental philosophical differences”  between the two and the Lucasfilm standard.
  • The directors felt they had been given “zero creative freedom,” with the Han Solo film, and, they began to feel the weight of what they called “extreme scheduling constraint.
  • They also felt they “were never given enough days for each scene from the very beginning.”
  • Insiders noted that Lord and Miller might have been out of their depth by taking on the gigantic task of telling the origin story of a much-beloved Star Wars character in Han Solo.
  • Lord and Miller were said to have relied too heavily on the improvisational style of acting they were known for in their previous work.

"[The improv-style] served them so well in live-action comedy and animation but does not work on a set with hundreds of crew members waiting for direction."

One source claims that when the pair was approached by production department heads with problems, they would listen, but would not follow through with a change.

  • Lord and Miller would call out lines to the actors in Han Solo from behind the camera. This caused a further rift between the pair and Lawrence Kasdan.

More from Dork Side of the Force

"Lawrence Kasdan would not allow this and demanded that every line was said word for word. To appease him and the studio, Lord and Miller would do several takes exactly as written and then shoot additional takes."

This all came to a boiling point when Lucasfilm made a switch at editor by replacing Chris Dickens with an editor who had worked closely with Ridley Scott on Alien: Covenant, as well as The Maritan — Pietro Scalia. When this occurred, Lucasfilm also hired an acting coach for the actor portraying Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich.

Shortly thereafter, Kennedy had had enough, and she asked Kasdan to fly from Los Angeles to London. This did not sit well with Lord and Miller who were not prepared for Kasdan’s role as their “shadow director.”

Soon after, Kennedy announced that Lucasfilm had parted ways with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Next: Ron Howard on directing Han Solo: “I’ve been a fan forever”

There is a ton more in the THR piece that I highly recommend you hop over and look through, as insiders close to the film speak out on what might happen with the future of Star Wars films, with Lucasfilm exhibiting a strong presence of oversight, with each new director.