Han Solo Director Replacement

Yesterday brought the shocking news that directing duo Phil Lord & Chris Miller had been let go from the Star Wars spin-off focusing on a young Han Solo played by Alden Ehrenreich.

At first, only creative differences were cited, but since then we’ve heard more specific details about why the acclaimed and respecting directing team were removed from the project with three weeks of principal photography left on the schedule. The reasoning for a parting of the ways is said to be a clash in filmmaking style. The fast and loose, improvisational approach that Lord & Miller have compared to the more calculated and structured style that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter/executive producer Lawrence Kasdan never really met in the middle, and disagreements finally came to a head.

Now Lucasfilm has to find a new director quickly as the studio hopes to be back in production by July 10 (or so we’ve heard), and while Ron Howard is said to be the frontrunner, with names like Joe Johnston and Lawrence Kasdan himself also in consideration, we have a list of filmmakers that we’d like to see finish the Han Solo movie instead.

Check out our own Han Solo director replacement candidates after the jump.

Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright

Though it might seem like Kathleen Kennedy isn’t eager to work with another director known for comedy, Edgar Wright is a very meticulous and calculated director when it comes to his comedy, mostly because his visuals are so ambitious and spectacular that getting the shot he wants requires plenty of preparation. Edgar Wright not only loves Star Wars, but his filmmaking style feels like it may be more in line with the kind of director that Lucasfilm wants to work with.

Then again, Wright ended up walking away from Ant-Man due to creative differences, so he might not be up for inheriting someone else’s movie where he can’t completely apply his own vision, especially since he’s friends with Lord & Miller. But this is Star Wars we’re talking about, and it could pave the way for Wright to get his own movie in the galaxy far, far away sometime down the road.

For what it’s worth, a reader told us that Kathleen Kennedy recently attended an Edgar Wright screening (we’re not sure if it was Baby Driver or one of his British Film Institute screenings of movies that inspired his chase film) where she even asked him a question. That question wasn’t whether he’d like to direct Han Solo, but there’s always a chance that she has talked to him already. (Ethan Anderton)

James Gunn directed Stan Lee cameos

James Gunn

Since James Gunn already has a comfy home at the Disney-owned Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm wouldn’t have to go very far to get the Guardians of the Galaxy director to hop into a different sci-fi universe. The vibe that Guardians of the Galaxy has is something that I’ve always envisioned for a Han Solo movie since it would presumably dive deeper into the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is a smuggler’s world in the Star Wars universe. Combine that with the fact that Star-Lord clearly has some Han Solo in him, and that makes James Gunn a prime candidate to finish the Han Solo movie.

The only issue might be that Gunn has taken a more active role behind the scenes at Marvel Studios, as Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is slated to arrive in 2020. The film will not only conclude an arc for the current iteration of the cosmic superhero team, but it will also help launch the next ten years of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That might not leave him much time to do Han Solo, but with both Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios at Disney, that makes it easier to figure out the finer details of making it happen. (Ethan Anderton)

Justin Lin 700

Justin Lin

Through his work reviving the Fast & Furious franchise and making last year’s Star Trek Beyond, Lin has become a master of moving parts. He’s been able to withstand insane production schedules and surmount any obstacle that comes his way, so I think he’s capable of stepping into the whirlwind of production and reshoots and delivering a product Kennedy wants. He’s a far more exciting choice than someone like Ron Howard (no disrespect there, just truth), and we know he can shoot chases, heists, and massive action sequences with the best of them while making sure characters and their relationships don’t get lost in the shuffle. (Ben Pearson)

Andrew Stanton

Andrew Stanton

I’m not sure Lucasfilm would want to take on another filmmaker with so few live-action films under their belt, and I’m not confident Disney Studios may be itching to retest with the Pixar vet after John Carter failed to ignite the box office, but he’s still a solid choice. Stanton just directed two episodes of the much anticipated second season of Netflix’s Stranger Things and of course has a pedigree of overseeing and directing some of Pixar’s best movies of all time (which in themselves make them some of the best movies of all time). Stanton is an admitted Star Wars fan and might be perfect for this Han Solo origin adventure. But the secret to Pixar and Stanton’s success is remaking a story over and over until it’s perfect. I’m not sure Han Solo has the time for this kind of trial and error approach. (Peter Sciretta)

Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele

Though Jordan Peele comes from a background of improvisational comedy, his feature directorial debut Get Out gave no indication of that skillset. The sketch comedian delivered a timely, smart thriller that wowed audiences and made some serious bank at the box office. He’s quite the hot commodity right now, and though he hasn’t proven himself in a blockbuster capacity, it’s clear he knows what he’s doing behind the camera. Plus, Jordan Peele already directed his own story in the Star Wars universe in one of the sketches that appeared on Key & Peele featuring the character Lando Calrissian. Peele doesn’t seem like the likeliest candidate, but he’s certainly someone who may be able to deliver what Kennedy and Lucasfilm are looking for. (Ethan Anderton)

Warcraft sequels

Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones’ debut film Moon shows he has the chops for a character-based science fiction film, with Sam Rockwell’s character capturing the spirit of what may be needed for a Han Solo origin film. But I’m not sure Kathleen Kennedy is ready to hire on another unproven filmmaker to fix and finish Han Solo’s anthology film. And especially coming off of Warcraft, which was critically bashed and poorly received at the box office. I’m expecting Jones will recapture the excitement and trust of moviegoers with his Netflix film Mute, and maybe one day could be in that Star Wars director’s chair. The time might not be right now, but it would be cool if it were. (Peter Sciretta)

Michelle MacLaren directing Star Wars

Michelle MacLaren

It’s now crystal clear that the primary factor in a successful collaboration with Kathleen Kennedy’s Lucasfilm is, above all else, the willingness to execute Kennedy’s vision. MacLaren, who has yet to direct a feature film, has worked extensively in these types of conditions before, since the world of television is completely producer-driven. On shows like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Westworld, MacLaren has excelled at delivering captivating, beautifully realized stories that meet the standards of demanding showrunners.

Admittedly, it’d be a shame if MacLaren’s first major movie wasn’t completely her own, but there’s no denying she has the talent and ability to step in and fix this fiasco. Plus, it could open the door for a relationship with Kennedy that could lead to MacLaren earning her own Star Wars movie later on. (Ben Pearson)

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