by Graham Pierrepoint
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, Star Wars is back with a vengeance. Following Disney’s acquiring of the brand and franchise from Lucasfilm a few years ago, the corporation has gone all-out to really expand the already popular universe and characters’ stories – with a barnstorming debut in Episode VII – The Force Awakens, fans of the force were finally able to get back into the Skywalker saga and put the divisive memories of the sequel movies behind them. With Episode VIII – The Last Jedi due for release later this year, it’s a series that will supposedly have no end in sight – with spin-off movies and extra entries in the saga due to pop up for years to come.
One of the most hotly-anticipated movies on the slate for the series is the untitled Han Solo prequel, which will focus on the rogue pilot’s early days before he got involved with the Skywalkers and the force. Alden Ehrenreich will play the title role, with big names in Woody Harrelson and Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke also on the cast sheet – but there has been a big change in production personnel with just weeks supposedly left on the slate. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller – best known from bringing The Lego Movie to the big screen – have been dropped from the movie, with veteran director Ron Howard instead taking up the reins.
Howard has a varied resume when it comes to the movies he’s been in charge of – from the celebrated A Beautiful Mind to the Da Vinci Code series, Star Wars seems to be entirely new territory for him – though there is no doubt that he will be a capable pair of hands, having worked in similar territory and alongside Star Wars creator George Lucas on a number of projects in the past. What changes Howard will make to proceedings are currently unknown – but it is thought that Lord and Miller have departed due to ongoing issues with regard to creative control.
The Han Solo movie is due to arrive next year, meaning that we are destined for a fair run of yearly Star Wars movies – and with Episode VII and Rogue One having performed very well critically and financially, there is definite life in the force yet. Let’s see how this turns out!