Star Wars has always been a story about family and the legacies that we each give ourselves over to, rebel against, or build for ourselves. The same is true on the production side, particularly since that galaxy far, far away was annexed by the House of Mouse. Most notably, Leia Organa actress Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, appeared throughout the Sequel Trilogy as Lt. Connix and eventually stood in (with a bit of computer-generated assistance) as a young Leia herself in The Rise of Skywalker after her mother’s passing.
That tradition has also extended behind the camera, as last November’s fourth chapter of the Disney+ streaming series The Mandalorian, “Sanctuary,” was directed by Jurassic World co-star Bryce Dallas Howard. She, in turn, is the eldest daughter of Academy Award winner Ron Howard, whose performing pedigree goes all the way back to his time playing Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show during the 1960s. The Howard patriarch also got final directing credit on the 2018 film, Solo: A Star Wars Story (written by Jonathan Kasdan, the son of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi co-writer Lawrence Kasdan), after taking over from original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Speaking with Collider’s Steve Weintraub at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Ron Howard revealed that his daughter had accompanied him during his time on Solo, playing padawan to the filmmaking Jedi, to learn the finer details of directing, and that “she had a couple of pretty great suggestions.” He described the process of picking up Solo mid-production as “almost a rewrite and a continuation,” having to rearrange many of the pieces that Lord and Miller had already put in place while building new material around them.
Howard, however, was undaunted by the undertaking, explaining:
“I had a blast making that movie, and it did remind me that I really enjoy that kind of playful storytelling and the action, and I love tech. I love actors more, but it’s great what you can offer audiences.”
Of course, Solo offered audiences a look into the untold history of one of the Star Wars universe’s most adored characters, but was significantly hamstrung by its need to cast a different actor to fill Harrison Ford’s unfillable boots, which one reviewer called “a cinematic cardinal sin.”
The decision incited the fury of some of the franchise’s most vocal devotees, but Howard recalled advice that he received from the galactic grandmaster himself, George Lucas, regarding their relationship with those diehard enthusiasts. “It’s for the fans,” Lucas told him: “And yet you have to have the courage to hear them but tell the story you want to tell.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download, while the first season of The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney+, with a second season confirmed for later this year.