Earlier this week the world was shocked when it was announced that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) would be stepping away from the Han Solo spinoff film after months of filming had already been completed. Today, Deadline reports that famed director Ron Howard will now helm the project, which is still set for release next summer. Disney is expected to make a formal announcement shortly. UPDATE (8:05 a.m. PDT): Lucasfilm has just confirmed the change, with president Kathleen Kennedy saying “At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”
It’s unclear exactly what occurred between Lucasfilm and Lord & Miller but rumors suggest writer Lawrence Kasdan and producer/Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy were unhappy with how the directing duo were shooting Kasdan’s script. According to statements released by both Kennedy and Lord & Miller, “creative differences” were behind the split.
Howard, although perhaps best known as an actor from his days on The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, is also a very accomplished director. Some of his biggest films include Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code. Interestingly, Howard also starred in the film American Graffiti directed by Star Wars creator George Lucas.