Han Solo Spinoff: Ron Howard Takes Over Troubled Production

Vet Oscar-winning director Ron Howard will take over the helm of the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff, Lucasfilm announced.

His hire comes after the movie’s original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired Tuesday, in the middle of production after clashing with producer and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and co-writer-executive producer Lawrence Kasdan.

The duo, who had previously made “The LEGO Movie” and “21 Jump Street,” wanted to inject more humor into the storyline and encouraged improvisation, something Kasdan did not appreciate.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Phil Lord and Chris Miller–fired directors

Howard will begin work immediately. The picture still has several weeks left on its shooting schedule, and five additional weeks of pre-scheduled reshoots that were planned for later this year.

The amount of time and money that it will take to complete the production  will depend on how much rewriting and reshooting Howard deems is necessary after reviewing the script and shot footage (about three quarters of the entire film).

It is unclear just how Howard will be credited and whether he will share directing credit with Lord and Miller, or potentially take no credit at all (though that seems unlikely). Lord and Miller have the right to appeal any decision, but ultimately, the Directors Guild of America will make the call.

Howard previously worked with Lucasfilm  on 1988’s “Willow,” a fantasy adventure that garnered two technical Occar nominations (visual effects and sound editing) but was a box office disappointment.

Howard’s good credits include hits such as “Parenthood,” “Splash,” “Backdraft,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Apollo 13” and  2001’s “A Beautiful Mind,” about the brilliant, anti-social mathematician John Nash, which won four Oscar Awards, including Best Picture, Director, and Actor.

These days, however, the director could benefit from a big hit, after a string of commercial and/or artistic flops, such as “Inferno,” “In the Heart of the Sea,” “Rush,” and “The Dilemma.”