UPDATE: Ron Howard will take over for Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and direct the upcoming Star Wars film about Han Solo, Lucasfilm announced Thursday. Howard reunites with Lucasfilm after more than three decades, with the director helming 1988’s Willow based on a story by George Lucas.
The directors of the upcoming Star Wars standalone film about young Han Solo, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, have exited the production over “creative differences.” Lord, Miller and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced the decision in a joint statement on the Star Wars website.
“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 said. “A new director will be announced soon.”
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project,” Lord and Miller said. “We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”
Despite the change, the untitled Han Solo film remains slated to open May 25th, 2018.
Lord and Miller were tapped to direct the Han Solo film in 2015 following a string of successes including 21 Jumpstreet and The Lego Movie. Per Variety, the Han Solo film began shooting in February at London’s Pinewood Studios and the film remains in production with several weeks of re-shoots scheduled for this summer.
The Han Solo standalone film stars Alden Ehrenreich as the young space smuggler made famous by Harrison Ford. The cast also includes Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Michael Kenneth Williams. Star Wars vet Lawrence Kasdan wrote the film with his son, Jon Kasdan.
The loss of Lord and Miller is not the first sudden shake-up to strike one of the new Star Wars films. Lucasfilm and Disney notably parted ways with screenwriter Michael Arndt, who was tapped to write the franchise reboot, Episode VII. Director J.J. Abrams and Kasdan eventually finished the script for what would become The Force Awakens. Similarly, Episode VIII lost its first director, Josh Trank, in 2015. Rian Johnson went on to complete The Last Jedi, which opens December 15th.