Star Wars: Episode IX And Han Solo Movie Broke For Different Reasons

  • Theatrical
  • Science Fiction
Star Wars: Episode IX is out in theaters May 24, 2019.
Star Wars: Episode IX is out in theaters May 24, 2019. Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm dismissed Colin Trevorrow from directing Star Wars: Episode IX less than three months after firing Phil Lord and Chris Miller, replacing the Han Solo Star Wars Story directors with the galaxy’s safest pick: Ron Howard. Though it’s easy to see a trending turmoil in Lucasfilm’s firings, there are substantially different reasons why the two Star Wars movies — slated to release after this year’s The Last Jedi — broke down.

Lord and Miller were removed due to a directorial style that clashed with the studio’s expectations. The Hollywood Reporter claims the two weren’t shooting quickly enough for Lucasfilm, in one example filming three different “setups” (new camera positions) in the time Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy expected over a dozen. Kennedy wanted comprehensive coverage, allowing for lots of options in editing, while Lord and Miller fought for more creative freedom and room for the improvisational shooting style that got results on their previous movies — presumably why Lucasfilm hired them in the first place.

But the Han Solo Star Wars movie didn’t really fall apart until screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was brought in to supplant Lord and Miller, just as screenwriter Tony Gilroy overhauled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But where Rogue One director Gareth Edwards was willing to accept the studio intervening, Lord and Miller balked.

“ They collaborate closely with their actors and give them creative freedom that, in their experience, brings out the actors' best performances," an anonymous source told THR. "Lawrence Kasdan would not allow this and demanded that every line was said word for word. To appease him and the studio, Lord and Miller would do several takes exactly as written and then shoot additional takes."

The Han Solo movie breakdown pit the directors against a powerful screenwriter, Kasdan, upset that the lines he wrote with his son, Jon Kasdan, were being improvised with on-set. On the other hand, Star Wars: Episode IX’s breakdown came not from a directing conflict, but from a screenwriting failure.

“Script issues have continued to be a sore spot throughout Episode IX ’s development, with Trevorrow having repeated stabs at multiple drafts,” writes THR, citing unnamed sources. The writer of Jurassic World couldn’t crack Star Wars: Episode IX.

It’s possible Trevorrow’s firing from indicates a move toward safer directorial picks for upcoming Star Wars movies, though the situations are dissimilar enough that identifying trends is likely to obscure more than explain. Declaring the chaotic production of Star Wars movies evidence of a blanket problem — micromanaging boardroom interference or hiring practices too focused on fashionable but inexperienced directors — can lead too easily to flattening very different situations into a single narrative. As ever, it is possible that Lucasfilm both fired directors for exercising creativity they were hired for and to avert a screenplay catastrophe from a director best known for following a profitable bad movie with an unprofitable bad movie.

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