One of the biggest movie shake ups in recent memory was last summer when Chris Miller and Phil Lord were fired from their Young Han Solo movie mere weeks before filming was to wrap up.
Entertainment Weekly has a bunch of Star Wars related stuff hitting right now and one of their pieces is quotes from Kathleen Kennedy and Ron Howard about that time, what went down and where their mindset was when these crucial decisions were made.
Ron Howard had this to say: “I know Chris and Phil. They’re incredibly talented guys, and all anyone at Imagine Entertainment wants to do is find a way to work with Chris and Phil, and that’s every bit as much the case today as ever, but when I learned that this change was happening, it just came in a moment where I was working on lots of new projects for Imagine, and I had not planned to direct anything last year. So then this came my way, and I was talking to Kathy, and the now tragically late Alli Shearmur, an old friend. I was reluctant, but I also began to feel that I could help.”
He also said that Lord & Miller's fingerprints are still all over the movie, but he hopes fans won't be spending time in the theater trying to pick apart what's theirs and what's his and just let the movie play for them.
Kathy Kennedy won't say a bad thing about Lord & Miller either, but did double down on the talk that they just weren't prepared to work in the way these films demand.
“I think these guys are hilarious, but they come from a background of animation and sketch comedy and when you are making these movies you can do that and there’s plenty of room for improvisation, we do that all the time, but it has to be inside of a highly structured process or you can’t get the work done and you can’t move the armies of people to anticipate and have things ready. So, it literally came down to process. Just getting it done.”
Of course, all this is true... from their point of view. Lord & Miller have been jovial about the situation in the few public appearances they've made since all the turmoil, but they've mostly kept their heads down and focused on their participation in producing the upcoming animated Spider-Man film at Sony that will be seeing MIles Morales behind the mask and writing their followup to The Lego Movie. Right now we just have Lucasfilm and Howard's side of things.
I'm sure in time we'll get more of the fuller picture, but it's interesting to see a more detailed point of view of this massive event.
Of course mid-stream changes isn't new and often isn't bad news. Michael J. Fox famously replaced Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly in Back to the Future after Robert Zemeckis shot half the movie (which Kathleen Kennedy produced, by the way).
We won't know if the final film survived until May, but I'm an optimist and I never walk in to any movie hoping to dislike it. Especially a Star Wars movie.