Ron Howard Talks Taking Over The Han Solo Movie

Ron Howard at Empire Awards, 2012

Last week came the shock announcement that Phil Lord and Chris Miller had been relieved of their duties on the Han Solo-focused Star Wars spin-off movie, followed quickly by word that Ron Howard would be taking over the job. Now, talking during a Q&A at film event Cannes Lions, Howard has commented on his history with the SW films and their originator, George Lucas.

Howard, of course, was part of the cast for Lucas' American Graffiti, and recalls a conversation about the young director's future plans. “I’ve been around the Star Wars universe from the beginning," he said. "When I was being directed by George Lucas on American Graffiti in 1972, we were standing out in front of Mel’s Drive-In in San Francisco where we were shooting and I said, 'Do you know what you think your next film might be?' And he said, 'Yeah, I want to do a science fiction movie, but a really fun one like Flash Gordon with the effects of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.' I thought, 'That sounds like a kind of crazy idea.'"

Yet, he remained curious about what Lucas might pull off. Queuing two hours with his wife in 1977, he immediately went in to see the original film again. And now he is going to be contributing to the wider movies' legacy. "So many people involved with the Star Wars franchise are friends, so it’s gratifying to be able to lend my voice to the universe – coming in when it’s already been in production and there is a great amount of work done." The film, in fact, has been shooting for six months, and has just a few weeks left in production, plus any re-shoots. From the sounds of it, Howard will mostly be involved in taking the movie back to its scripted roots.

The director is stepping in to take over the film starting 10 July, overseeing work from the likes of Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The as-yet untitled movie is scheduled to be released on 25 May next year.