Ron Howard fills the director's chair for the upcoming ''Star Wars'' Han Solo spin-off movie after the previous helmers leave the project. Simon Thompson reports.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is stepping into a galaxy far, far away for the upcoming "Star Wars" Han Solo spin-off movie, after the film's production was thrown into upheaval by the surprise departure of its directors. Howard is one of Hollywood's best known directors with films such as "Splash," "Cocoon," "The Da Vinci Code," "Frost/Nixon," and "A Beautiful Mind" to his name. Lucasfilm's president, Kathleen Kennedy, announced that filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, best known for "21 Jump Street," "22 Jump Street" and "The Lego Movie," had left the project due to creative differences. In a statement on StarWars.com, Kennedy said: "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." Kennedy announced Howard's hiring for the film a day later, saying in a statement, "At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago." The untitled Han Solo movie started filming in London in February. Lucasfilm said that production is on a brief hiatus amid the directorial changes until Howard takes over on July 10. The film will follow the origin story of young Han Solo, the handsome, roguish space smuggler made famous by actor Harrison Ford. Rising star Alden Ehrenreich plays Solo this time round. The Han Solo film is the second of three stand-alone "Star Wars" films that kicked off with last year's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."