Stunningly, with the film already well into production, the stand-alone Han Solo prequel has lost directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, with LucasFilm citing creative differences. Kathleen Kennedy dropped the bombshell unexpectedly, with "sources" widely quoted as saying that the production was blighted by a clash between the directors and Jon Kasdan from the earliest days.
Variety have fleshed out the news saying“It was a culture clash from day one”, not just between the pair and Kasdan, but also with Kennedy herself. The directors were apparently unhappy with the lack of creative freedom as Kennedy exerted "tight control" on the set. And for her part, Kennedy was unsatisfied with their shooting style and how they interacted with the cast and crew.
The Variety report also adds detail to the issues with Kasdan, who they say disagreed with several of the pair’s creative decisions. Clearly it came to a head and the differences led to the dramatic firing.
It all feels a little alarming, and reflects pretty badly on the studio who you'd think should have dealt with any clashes before the cameras started to roll. This situation now looks like they hired a directing team without understanding what they would bring (or not respecting it) and tried to impose too much rigidity on them when they famously work more fluidly.
And after Rogue One's production was beset late on by apparent concerns from LucasFilm about tone, it looks like the studio is suffering from an identity crisis. Which begs the question: if you're going to consciously make "different" Anthology films, but you don't want them to be too different, why bother seeking difference in the first place?
Ron Howard, Lawrence Kasdan and Joe Johnston are now being suggested as possible replacements for the outgoing pair though it appears the former is tied up making his Pavarotti biopic. Turning to a dependable head like Kasdan this late in the production would appear to be the most sensible direction now, as he's still considered Mr Star Wars, and he absolutely knows what the character is about.
If it turns out that Miller and Lord's approach to the character - and the over-reliance on comedy - was the reason for their departure, an expert in those terms is exactly the right tonic. And it would be somewhat fitting that he'd return to helm the beginnings of a character he helped kill off in The Force Awakens.
The logistical issue according to THR is that Kasdan already works on the film as a co-writer, and the Directors Guild of America forbids somebody already working on a film from then becoming director, unless for a short-term emergency only.
If LucasFilm went with Joe Johnston, they'd be bringing home a Star Wars veteran: he started his career designing AT-ATs, TIE Fighters, and Boba Fett, so he has previous, and he knows how to handle big budget franchise films thanks to Captain America: The First Avenger.
Who would you like to see take over as the new Han Solo director? Share your picks below in the comments thread.