Days after the dismissal of co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller confounded Star Wars and film fandom, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Academy Award winner Ron Howard is stepping in to finish directing the upcoming Han Solo film. The Apollo 13 director was rumored to be the front runner for the position just hours after Miller and Lord were dismissed with only a few weeks remaining in production. Their dismissal was allegedly over disputes about the film’s creative direction with Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy. A Thursday morning statement on the official Star Wars website confirmed the rumors. The statement read in part:
“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “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.”Howard becomes the first Academy Award-winning director to helm a Star Wars film. The 63-year old also has a longtime relationship with Star Wars creator George Lucas, having starred in the director’s Oscar-nominated 1973 hit American Graffiti. The still-untitled Han Solo film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams, and Emilia Clarke, and it is scheduled for release on May 25, 2018.