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What Ron Howard will bring to the Han Solo movie


Hollywood was rocked last week by the news that Phil Lord and Chris Miller were departing the Han Solo movie over alleged "creative differences".

Luckily the movie has pulled in a filmmaker of repute and experience in the form of Ron Howard, whose job it is to oversee the final couple of weeks of principal photography, a bunch of reshoots and the rough edit of Lord and Miller's footage.

How the movie will take shape is now one of cinema's most tantalising unanswered questions. Filming begins again on 10th July and the movie's 25th May 2018 release date remains unchanged for now. If you've been wondering why Howard is very good news for the movie, here's why.

He's got the George Lucas connections

Howard is one of the best connected people in Hollywood and has the ear of the original Star Wars figurehead. His connection with Lucas extends right the way back to 1973 when he appeared in the director's nostalgic jukebox hit American Graffiti. He also directed the 1988 Lucasfilm fantasy hit Willow.

So although Lucas isn't directly involved in the movies any more, having the ear of the father of Star Wars can't be a bad thing.

He's already a dab hand with fantasy

As mentioned Howard directed family fantasy Willow, a rarity on his CV but one that demonstrates his affinity with visual effects and creature designs. And if anything was a dry run for an eventual Star Wars movie, this was surely it, featuring charming performances from Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer in the story of a mystical, engrossing battle against evil.

He's got the light touch

If rumours are to be believed, Lord and Miller were given the heave-ho for allegedly turning Solo's character into more of a slapstick figure, against the wishes of screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

Much as the movie needs to be entertaining, it also needs to learn to tread carefully as far as the humour is concerned. Howard is the perfect man here with his 1984 Tom Hanks smash Splash featuring the perfect blend of sharp humour and gentle pathos, one that knows when to call it a day as far as the jokes are concerned.

Not only that: he also directed Oscar-winning ageing comedy Cocoon in 1985 and narrates TV hit Arrested Development. If anyone can navigate the needs of a Han Solo movie without compromising the essence of the character, it's surely him.

He's got four decades' worth of experience

At the end of the day you can't argue with the numbers. Howard's directorial career extends right the way back to his 1977 feature debut Grand Theft Auto and has gone on to encompass an extraordinary host of genres. These include family comedy (Parenthood), firefighting action movie (Backdraft), acclaimed historical drama (Apollo 13) and blockbusting religious thriller (The Da Vinci Code).

Put simply, he's got 40 years worth of experience working with massive film crews, meaning he's got the professionalism on his side.

He's been into space before!

Albeit for a very different kind of movie (and, arguably, the one that's still his best). 1995's Apollo 13 struck the perfect balance between objectivity and hero worship, re-enacting the agonising Apollo 13 space disaster that almost claimed the lives of its three astronauts.

Expertly flitting between the outer space fight for survival, the NASA engineers looking to bring them down and the families anxiously watching the TV screens, it's a movie that brilliantly engrosses you in the real-life story, even if you already knew the outcome.

He's terrific with actors

It's not easy stepping into the iconic Harrison Ford's space shoes but that's what Alden Ehrenreich is tasked with in the Han Solo movie.

He therefore needs a filmmaker who has the requisite sensitive touch with actors and Howard is that man. He's elicited some outstanding performances in his movies from an Oscar-winning Don Ameche in Cocoon to an explosive Mel Gibson in Ransom and a gritty Cate Blanchett in tough Western The Missing.

Of course, his most notable success stories on this front reside with Russell Crowe, Oscar-nominated for A Beautiful Mind (for which Howard won) and acclaimed for boxing drama Cinderella Man.

Meanwhile Howard's celebrated F1 drama Rush featured electrifying ying and yang turns from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl as rival drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

We're thinking that Ehrenreich and the rest of the cast, including Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and Woody Harrelson, are in good hands.

What do you think Ron Howard is the perfect choice to take on Han Solo? Let us know @Cineworld.

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