The production of Solo: A Star Wars Story is certainly one of the most fraught in recent memory, at least publicly. Drama surrounds plenty of Hollywood productions, but this one not only occurred on a massively anticipated Star Wars movie, it included the firing of the film’s directors weeks away from when filming was supposed to wrap. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the Han Solo movie last summer over creative differences with Lucasfilm, at which point Ron Howard was brought in to take over the production as director.
Many believed Disney would push the film out of its May 2018 release date, but that didn’t happen. Despite reshooting a great deal of material, Howard seems confident he’ll make that date. We learned last week that Lord and Miller will not be taking a “directed by” credit on the film, and instead have opted for executive producer credits. Now a new report in Vulture is shining more light on the production issues, citing an unnamed actor involved with the production as a source.
According to this source, the production of Solo was “chaotic” under Lord and Miller’s tenure, as the filmmakers would typically shoot “more than 30 takes” of a given scene. Whether this is true or not, it wouldn’t exactly be surprising. The filmmakers’ background is in comedy and animation, where trial and error is a key part of the process. Lucasfilm no doubt understood how they worked when they were brought in, and the Jump Street movies were improvisation-heavy, so for this to be a surprise to anyone is a little weird.
The most intriguing revelation in the piece is the fact that Howard—who the source says would shoot only a couple takes of a scene and move on, hence why he can meet that release date—did extensive reshoots, but it wasn’t added material. As opposed to Rogue One, where an entirely new third act was written and shot by Tony Gilroy, Solo’s reshoots were reportedly just reshooting stuff that Lord and Miller had already shot:
“It’s exactly the same script. They’re filming exactly the same things. There’s nothing new,” says the actor, adding: “[Lord and Miller] used whole sets. But Ron is just using parts from those sets. I guess they’re not shooting wide angle. Maybe to save money.”
That’s an interesting piece of information, and would certainly speak to the creative differences Lord and Miller were having with Lucasfilm. Assuming this report is true, it sounds like the differences had more to do with Lord and Miller’s style and less to do with the material they were working with. Indeed, earlier reports said Lord and Miller were butting heads with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who was unhappy to find that Lord and Miller were encouraging improvisation. But again, that’s kind of what these filmmakers are known for, so why this was a surprise is still baffling to me.
The source goes on to say morale on the film improved when Howard came on as the production wasn’t as chaotic as it was before, but whether that means the movie will be any good or not is still up in the air. We’ll find out in short order as Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25th.