Fired Solo: A Star Wars Story directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller did not want their film to be simply fan service. After directing three critically acclaimed box office hit films in a row with 2012’s 21 Jump Street and 2014’s The Lego Movie and 22 Jump Street, Lord and Miller were hired in 2015 to helm the Han Solo prequel film in the slate of Star Wars films leading up to the release of The Force Awakens. The duo cast the film and shot for 90 days before being let go from the project in 2017.
The duo was replaced by Ron Howard, who oversaw a massive reshoot campaign for the film to make its May 25, 2018 release date. While Solo: A Star Wars Story received a relatively positive reaction upon release and there is interest in continuing the story, the film was a box office bomb, partially due to the inflated budget for the reshoots. Lord and Miller’s departure was cited as being due to creative differences with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Solo screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. Lord and Miller wanted to take a more risky approach to match the personality of Han Solo, while Lucasfilm reportedly wanted a traditional action movie with comedic elements.
In an interview with Playlist, Lord and Miller elaborated on their plans for Solo and how they wanted to take risks and avoid excessive fan service elements. This decision may have been the big clash that led to Lucasfilm firing the duo as Miller drops a reference to big companies trying to save quarterly profits in contrast to those individuals who are making the movies. Lord said that giving the audience exactly what they want will just leave audiences disappointed and that they need to think ahead of the audience. The full quote can be read below:
Phil Lord: If you’re giving the audience exactly what they expect and a bunch of, ‘just fan service,’ they’re going to end up disappointed, they’re gonna be like, ‘Yeah, this is stuff I already knew. The trick is to figure out what it is they don’t quite yet realize that they want and every idea that you add into the stew is something that you’re like, ‘Oh, that would be a cool thing to see that I haven’t seen before and isn’t the thing that’s expected because I think people are really savvy now and so you have to stay two steps ahead of them and I feel like that’s our job.
Chris Miller: You can’t play scared. So, I don’t really relate to some fear of a fanbase. We don’t think about it that way. There are people out there, I suppose, that are trying to game the marketplace and follow a formula. They’re trying to serve the quarterly earnings of a big company, but a company doesn’t make a movie or write a song, these things are made by human beings and we’re always trying to serve the human beings making the movie and the human beings witnessing the movie, always remembering, what you’re putting out there, that’s only half of it. The other half is, there’s a person in a movie theater and you’re beaming sound and light into their face and they make the movie in their brain. So you have to understand that as a relationship and a conversation, put yourselves into the shoes of that person.
Lord and Miller’s intention of subverting expectations align with The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who took the Star Wars franchise in a bold new direction that, while a critical and box office hit, left a portion of the audience upset with the film’s twists and turns. While fans have embraced the familiar sites and elements in series like The Mandalorian, even then it appears to be a fine line between balancing fan service and appearing to offer something new. As seen with how audiences reacted poorly to fan service-heavy entries like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and The Book of Boba Fett, where both projects feature a lot of callbacks, returning characters, and references to past Star Wars material.
What exactly Lord and Miller’s take on Solo: A Star Wars Story might have been will remain a mystery and it is highly likely the duo’s take on Solo would have been a polarizing one. Some audiences may have enjoyed the very different take on the material, offering a new stylistic flavor to a galaxy far far away, while others may have been disappointed it was not the Star Wars film they expected. While some would say that the Star Wars franchise is just repeating the same beats by greenlighting shows based on established characters, Lucasfilm is also greenlighting very different Star Wars projects like the non-canon Star Wars: Vision or the upcoming Acolyte series which takes place before the events of the Skywalker Saga.
Next: Why Rise Of Skywalker Would Have Been Better With Rian Johnson
Source: The Playlist
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