Emilia Clarke Says Ron Howard Saved Solo: A Star Wars Story

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In the end, the backstage drama about Solo: A Star Wars Story turned out to be far more compelling than the rather dull, mediocre movie we got. I can’t in good conscience say it’s a bad film, but it’s certainly not something I’ll be thinking about for a while and for me, lies somewhere above the prequels but below all the rest of the Star Wars movies in terms of quality. If Phil Lord and Chris Miller had been able to realize their original vision, though, could it have been better?

Well, Emilia Clarke, who plays Han Solo’s girlfriend, the flat and affectless Qi’ra, claims that Lord and Miller’s sacking and the arrival of Ron Howard actually saved the project. This comes courtesy of an interview the actress did with Vanity Fair where she said that the original directors didn’t communicate their intentions for her character:

“I’m not gonna lie, I struggled with Qi’ra quite a lot. I was like: ‘Y’all need to stop telling me that she’s “film noir,” because that ain’t a note.”

With Miller and Lord not helping, she sought out writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan for assistance, but no dice there, either, apparently. Then, Ron Howard showed up and everything was sunshine and roses, according to Clarke.

“All hail to [Lucasfilm president] Kathy [Kennedy] for hiring Ron. He even feigned enthusiasm! I know for a fact he had that discussion with everybody. I think we all came to set feeling like his favorite. It makes for a really happy load of actors, with our egos.”

I mean, good work for Ron Howard in making the actors feel very very special and having their egos massaged appropriately, but maybe encouraging Clarke to – y’know – act a little more might have been a better option. Having now seen the movie, “she’s film noir” seems like a pretty accurate description of the role and how to play it, so maybe she’d have been a little better if Clarke had listened to the original directors.

It makes you wonder what the Lord and Miller film would have been like, too, and while it’s difficult to spot bits of dialogue and scenes they might have shot, I think I’d have probably preferred an interesting and ambitious bad movie to the bland, tasteless blockbuster experience we got. I suppose the “lost” cut will soon sit in pride of place alongside the fabled Snyder Cut of Justice League that we’ll never get to see.

As for now, though, Solo: A Star Wars Story is increasingly feeling like a missed opportunity, both in expanding the Star Wars universe and for making money for Disney in general.

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