Cast your mind back to the summer of 2016, long before Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One broke past all expectations to score $1.05 billion at the international box office, and you’ll no doubt remember the disconcerting reports regarding the first of Disney’s Star Wars anthology films and, specifically, how production woes had seemingly rendered it an incoherent mess.
And though Rogue One‘s troubles may have been somewhat sensationalized, Disney and Lucasfilm drafted Tony Gilroy in to help salvage the project, which largely involved brushing up the film’s grand finale – heck, that by-now famous Darth Vader scene was kept a secret right up until the 11th hour.
The fact that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story emerged on the other side relatively unscathed is a remarkable feat, so it’s small wonder why the Mouse House wanted to employ a similar strategy to course-correct the Han Solo anthology movie. It’s a saga that seemingly reached “boiling point” by mid-June, but according to sources close to THR, Disney had considered bringing in Lawrence Kasdan to help whip the project into shape – a strategy that faced strong opposition from erstwhile directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
“Creative differences” between the filmmakers and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy resulted in a parting of ways early last week, but further details have revealed a more complex situation, particularly when it comes to the clashes between Lord and Miller and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who hashed out the script alongside his son Jon.
Kasdan, a mainstay of the Star Wars franchise, reportedly took issue with Lord and Miller’s unorthodox approach, which encouraged improvisation over acting by the book. But shortly before Kennedy reached her decision to fire both directors, Lucasfilm purportedly “made attempts first to support and eventually to supplant Lord and Miller to some degree, as happened with Gareth Edwards on the troubled ‘Rogue One.'”
One source close to Lord and Miller claimed that directors help little-to-no creative freedom on the project, and faced a daunting proposition from the off.
There were ‘deep fundamental philosophical differences’ in filmmaking styles, this person says, and the directors felt they were being given ‘zero creative freedom.’ They also felt they were being asked to operate under ‘extreme scheduling constraints’ and ‘were never given enough days for each scene from the very beginning.’
It’s unlikely we’ll ever know the ins and outs of this ongoing Han Solo saga, but with filming expected to resume on July 10th, at least that original May 25th, 2018 release date remains intact.