Ron Howard has officially been hired by Disney and Lucasfilm to take over the untitled Han Solo spinoff film in the Star Wars franchise, days after previous project directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired. “I’ve been a fan forever. It’s gratifying to be asked to lend my voice to the universe,” Howard said at a conference in Cannes on Friday. Lord and Miller were allegedly fired because they were veering too far off from the Lawrence Kasdan script to insert their own brand of humor. Lord and Miller were already about three fourths of the way into production when they were sacked from the production. Howard is expected to resume production of the film by July 10, with five weeks of re-shoots scheduled for later in the year. Howard is a famous director who won an Oscar for his work on A Beautiful Mind and has also directed critically acclaimed films such as Cocoon, Apollo 13 and Rush.
Howard talked about his history with Star Wars in the conference. He said that in 1972, when Howard was acting in the George Lucas directed American Graffiti, Lucas talked to him about his ideas for a “fun” science fiction film that would use special effects similar to those used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was on that set where Lucas met Harrison Ford, who would later play the Han Solo character in the original trilogy of Star Wars films released in the late 1970s and 1980s. Howard claims he and his wife waited in a line for two hours to watch the original Star Wars movie, saying that the film left him “speechless”. He also says that after watching it for the first time, they immediately got back into the line, and this time waited 90 minutes, to watch the film a second time.