Han Solo: A Star Wars story, the stand alone Han Solo origin movie that no one asked for has lost it’s directors, Christopher Lord & Phil Miller, the directing team that gave us The Lego Movie, 21 and 22 Jump Street, have left the film because of the classic bullshit Hollywood excuse “creative differences”. (Which in this case seems to mean they were fired).
When the term “creative differences” is used in Hollywood, it basically means some bad shit was going down. It’s blanket term used when things are going badly on a project, but they don’t want to make specific people look bad. So “creative differences” could mean anything from the directors constantly throwing their feces at crew members to the movie being a piece of hot garbage and the studio has to make a desperate attempt to salvage their massively expensive tent pole film. Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucasfilm was the one to make this call and this woman knows what she’s doing. She started her career working with Spielberg on Raiders of the Lost Ark and has since been part of many of the most successful films ever made.
But Lord and Miller did The Lego Movie with that stupid fucking song everyone loves!
(to the tune of “Everything Is Awesome”)
“EVERYTHING IS SHITTYYYYYYYY!
EVERYTHING BLOWS WHEN YOUR MOVIE SUCKS!”
However, on rare occasions, “creative differences” means “creative differences”. That means that there’s a creative aspect of the film, be it story, character, or something else that the film makers and studio disagree on, but won’t come to a middle ground about. Movie studios finance these projects and can get nervous when film makers do things creatively that they consider risky. At which point the film maker either quits or is fired by the studio. Then, with the world watching, studio tries to make gold out of diarrhea.
This case is especially bad because “Han Solo: A Star Wars Story” (or whatever the fuck they’re calling it) has been filming since February which mean a good chunk of this film has been shot. This type of thing usually happens before filming starts or at the very beginning. Even after a film is completed a movie studio may bring someone else in to the editing room to put the finishing touches on a movie they think needs work.
Now the studio needs to find a director that they think can right this metaphorical ship. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a done deal that it’s gonna be Ron Howard.
I wrote a previous article for this site was basically praising Star Wars as my personal religion. I never thought I’d actively be rooting against a Star Wars film. But I fucking HATE Ron Howard as a film maker. I think he’s an overrated hack who has made some of my most loathed films. (I’d rather get one of my nuts torn off than have to sit through his fucking Grinch movie with Jim Carrey again)
Having said that, I’m torn by this news. On the one hand I love the Star Wars Universe with all my heart and I don’t want to see it take a step backward. On the other hand, I hated the whole idea of this movie. As soon as it was rumored to be one of the stand alone Star Wars movies.
I have strong feelings why I feel doing a Han Solo prequel movie in particular is a bad idea. But first I want to talk about some of the other parts of the Star Wars Universe that could have been better places to draw stories from than a …(sigh) Han Solo prequel movie.
When the stand alone Star Wars movies were announced I thought it was great storytelling opportunity. Star Wars has a massive mythology outside of the Skywalker family saga, even if they completely ignore the Expanded Universe content (Star Wars books, comics, video games , ect.).
But The Expanded Universe still has some excellent material to mine. The comics in particular are really special. They began to publish fantastic in continuity Star Wars comics, telling stories that took place between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”. Issue #6 of the flagship book “Star Wars”, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by John Cassaday, ends on a key scene that is incredibly important to the overall Saga (especially The Original Trilogy) that we never actually see in the films. It’s relatively simple scene that is a perfect mix of art and dialogue. Shortly after the destruction of the original Death Star, Vader hired Boba Fett to capture the pilot who destroyed the deadly space station. He couldn’t capture him, but he doesn’t come to Vader empty handed. Keep in mind, at this point Vader thinks his children died with his wife.Check it out:
That was an exceptionally well done sequence.
There’s so much more that this universe has to offer that most people haven’t seen. There’s the excellent Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels Animated series’. The Clone Wars chronicles the period between Episodes II & III. Currently Star Wars Rebels which is about to enter its final season in the fall, chronicles the rise of The Rebellion shortly before Episode IV. Both of these are phenomenal shows, don’t let the fact that they are animated turn you off. There are new characters that are just as compelling as some of the characters from the films and they also have the opportunity to further flesh out some of the relationships we see in the movies. Here’s an incredible scene from Rebels, we see the sad, beautiful, decades in the making final confrontation between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul:
Another great example of the larger Star Wars Universe is Grand Admiral Thrawn, a fan-favorite Imperial villain from Timothy Zahn’s series of novels. Now he’s been introduced as a major villain in Star Wars Rebels. There are plenty of in continuity books, TV shows, and comics that are cannon that could be used in films.
Which is my whole point! why the fuck would you limit yourself to a shitty Han Solo prequel (why the fuck do these Hollywood assholes think we love prequels?). As usual they make the most predictable, “safe” (on paper), bullshit decision possible and do a Han Solo prequel movie. It’s especially disappointing coming from somebody as intelligent as Kathleen Kennedy at head of Lucasfilm, who’s someone I’d normally have a lot of faith in. Now besides the shit show they currently dealing with behind the scenes, here’s why a Han Solo prequel film was a dog piss idea in the first place…
I’ve always felt one of the biggest reasons this project wouldn’t work in the same way other prequels do is the fact that we associate Han Solo with Harrison Ford so much. Batman, James Bond, these are characters that were adapted from other mediums. I think recasting Han Solo is more of a slap in the face to fans is because Harrison Ford created that character as we see him on screen. This wasn’t an interpretation of a property that already existed in another medium or had been played by a different actor in a different film. George Lucas is famous for not being an actor’s director; he doesn’t give actors a lot of nuanced notes on performance. It’s safe to say that in many ways Harrison Ford helped create the character of Han Solo. All of the little moments, ticks, and nuances that we love about Han Solo all come out of Harrison Ford. There’s no source material for whatever asshole they got to play young Han Solo to refer to. It’s all Harrison Ford. Which is why at best this would just be some kid doing a Harrison Ford impression. If that’s the case, what’s the fucking point of making the movie at all? This is why it shouldn’t be touched.
This is the kid playing Han Solo:
There’s another issues with doing a Han Solo prequel film that I haven’t heard anyone mention yet. Han Solo is an outlaw and a pirate (Like Jack Sparrow when he was still cool and not just creepy). Giving Han Solo a film that fills in all the blanks takes a bit of mystique away from the character. Some mystery for a roguish character like Han is part of his appeal.
There’s an old saying that audiences don’t really know what they want, even if they think they do. We may think we want to see Han meet Chewie and Lando and win the Millennium Falcon in a game of Sabbac, but sometimes things are better left to the imagination. (That’s right, I know the name of the fictional card game played in the Star Wars universe. Winner!)
Personally, I felt if they had to do a prequel movie starring a character that we already know it should be an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie. Ewan McGregor has said multiple times that he would love to play the character again. Tell a story that takes place between Episodes III and Episode IV. What was he up to on Tatooine for 20 years? Maybe he decided to break those pointless fucking celibacy vows the Jedi had for some reason? Maybe 50 years later he’s got a hot granddaughter running around the galaxy? Who knows? I swear I had this idea before the comics did, but in the main Star Wars comic written by Jason Aaron, every now and then Luke will read Obi-Wan’s Journal and we get a flashback to one on his adventures during his time on Tantooine. These issues are always fun and they show that Kenobi wasn’t just sweating his ass off in that fucking hut for 20 years.
They could tell a western style adventure with Obi-Wan trying to stay in hiding, but maybe he keeps seeing The Hutts or some other alien gangsters harassing simple moisture farmers around him. Finally, he’s reluctantly forced to do something about it. That’s just off the top of my head! I’d see the fuck out of that movie! Maybe he runs into another surviving Jedi, those guys are all running around the galaxy left and right. The Empire certainly didn’t get all of them. Also, we don’t have actor recasting issues like we have with Harrison Ford because Obi-Wan has already been played by multiple actors.
The positive side is that Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy know what they’re doing and I have more faith in them then the guys who did the fucking Lego Movie. I know I’m gonna get shit for this, but I absolutely fucking HATE the Lego movie trend. Fuck The Lego Movie. Fuck The Lego Batman Movie. Just…Fuck Off.
The Force Awakens was far from perfect but it was a great movie. I have a lot less love for Rogue One, but there is greatness in that film. The “Vader Scene” (you know what I’m talking about) was one of the best scenes in the saga. The new Expanded Universe is excellent. Star Wars Rebels is one of my favorite shows and occasionally manages to outdo the films in shear thrilling, emotional, spectacle.
At the end of the day, Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and Disney will be just fine. It does suck however to see a chink in their creative armor. Since Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney they just kept cranking out solid fucking content. They went about building their universe in a smart, fun, and well thought out way. They decided what would be cannon and what wouldn’t and went to work. Movies, TV shows, books, comic books. They haven’t made a misstep yet so this is their first major hiccup. But let’s be honest even if this is a total disaster in every way, shape, or form, this is not going to hurt the Star Wars brand in the long run.
Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong and the studio brought Ron Howard (UPDATE: They did. Ron Howard is officially directing Young Han Solo). I hope he crushes it. I hate most of his movies and think he’s a MASSIVELY overrated director, but I did love Cinderella Man. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see the color and consistency of the shit they spray all over the movie screen.
Also keep an eye out for the new episode of “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim” where Tim and I will be discussing the season 2 premiere of Preacher on AMC. It’s gonna be really fucking good…probably.
Thanks for reading!