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With Star Wars: A New Hope celebrating the 40th anniversary of its theatrical release this year, this is as good a time as any to dig into the film’s history.

Knowledgable film lovers often cite Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film The Hidden Fortress as a key influence on the young George Lucas, as the plot of that film heavily informs the original Star Wars. In it, two squabbling peasants become involved in the rescue of a princess, similar to how C-3PO and R2-D2 would get caught up in the mission to free Leia and deliver the Death Star plans.

As Wookiepedia shows, the first script treatment for Star Wars — a 1973 story synopsis that Lucas shopped around Hollywood — hews even closer in plot to The Hidden Fortress, with Lucas having straight-up plagiarized a description of that movie from a book called The Films of Akira Kurosawa by the late film historian and Japanophile Donald Richie.

But the Japanese roots of Star Wars run deeper than one artist stealing/borrowing from another (as all artists do, to the degree that they are influenced by one another). Let’s explore some of those influences: some well-known, others less perhaps so.

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The Empire Strikes Back - Han Solo

Even though Ron Howard has been officially announced as the replacement director for Lucasfilm’s forthcoming Han Solo spin-off, many are still curious about what happened behind the scenes on the next installment in the A Star Wars Story series of films that began with Rogue One.

The official story was that the directing style of Phil Lord & Chris Miller clashed with what Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan had expected them to do, and their disagreement over the direction of the movie finally came to a head that resulted in their termination with three weeks left in production. But since then, some more details have come to the surface that shed some more light on the situation.

When it comes to stories that dig into the reasoning that saw the original Han Solo directors fired, it all still boils down to creative differences between Lord & Miller and Lucasfilm, but it’s the specifics that are rather interesting, though admittedly also a little gossipy. It includes talk of an acting coach, a reference to Ace Ventura and more.

Find out the latest on this situation that saw the original Han Solo directors fired. Read More »

han solo updates

The untitled Han Solo movie went through massive upheaval last week, losing its two directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller three weeks before the end of production and gaining a new director in Ron Howard a day later.

But despite fan apprehension surrounding this entire project, the people at Disney and Lucasfilm seem to be working around the clock to ensure that the film will be salvaged and assure fans that it will be a Star Wars movie worth seeing.

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Ron Howard on Han Solo Directing Gig

This week has been a whirlwind for Star Wars fans — the news that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired two-thirds of the way through production of the untitled Han Solo spin-off movie hit the Internet on Tuesday. Just as quickly, it was announced that Ron Howard would step in to finish directing the film.

But the man at the center of it all has remained largely silent as the fans and hot takes swirled around him. Now, Howard has spoken up about taking over the Han Solo directing gig, offering a humble response to the burden that has been placed on him.

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Star Wars concert

If you’re a regular reader of this site, chance are pretty high that you’ve seen the Star Wars movies more times than you can count. But I guarantee you’ve never seen them quite like this before. If you’re going to be in or around New York City this fall, the New York Philharmonic will be performing John Williams‘ iconic scores live during screenings of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens. Billed as the world’s first-ever live performance of the score along with the movies, this sounds like an event fans won’t want to miss.
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Lord and Miller Han Solo

After a chaotic flurry of news earlier this week, the details are finally starting to come into focus: directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from directing the Han Solo standalone project because they clashed with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s vision for the film, and this morning, they were officially replaced by The Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard.

But the directing duo had been attached to this film for two years, and had already filmed for four and a half months when they were let go. Will they receive Han Solo director credits on the final movie, or will this officially become “a Ron Howard film”? Find out the latest info about this entire fiasco.
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ron howard directing han solo

Ron Howard is stepping in to direct Lucasfilm and Disney’s untitled Han Solo movie, taking over the production after original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired with three weeks left to the production.

Find out more about Ron Howard directing Han Solo after the jump. Read More »

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. Read More »

Phil Lord and Chris Miller Directing The Flash

The galaxy — far away and nearby — was shocked when directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were suddenly fired from Lucasfilm’s Han Solo prequel, with only several weeks left in the production. While Lord and Miller, who had previously directed irreverent comedies like 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, were unlikely choices to helm a major Star Wars blockbuster, they seemed like a good fit — fresh blood to invigorate the old-school approach of Lucasfilm and Disney.

It’s always unfortunate to see talented directors out of work, but according to reports, that may not be long for Lord and Miller. Before leaving the Star Wars spin-off, the directing duo had apparently met with DC Films under Warner Bros. to discuss another troubled blockbuster production: The Flash.

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Han Solo Movie First Look

On Tuesday night, a shockwave was felt throughout the Star Wars galaxy. Phil Lord and Chris Miller were abruptly fired from the Han Solo standalone movie. While the full story is unclear (and will probably be speculated and debated upon for years), we have some inside word on what happened behind the scenes. Why did Lucasfilm fire Han Solo directors Lord and Miller? And who might replace them to direct the rest of the film and the reshoots? Below, you can read the rumored story of how the clash happened behind-the-scenes of this Star Wars anthology movie

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