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The Han Solo movie loses its directors – but who should replace them?


Well, chalk this one up as unexpected. 

It turns out that Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the irreverent, zany visionaries behind The LEGO Movie and the Jump Street movies, have been fired from the Han Solo movie.

Trade bible Variety cites the old chestnut, "creative differences" between the directors and producer Kathleen Kennedy, who apparently disagreed with their vision for the project. It also claims Lord and Miller had clashes with writer Lawrence Kasdan, another mainstay of the Star Wars saga who wrote the applauded script for The Empire Strikes Back.

This of course throws the future of one of 2018's most anticipated blockbusters into doubt (although its May 25th release date is said to still be locked in). The filmmakers were approaching the end of principal photography on the movie, which stars Alden Ehrenreich as the young Solo alongside Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover (the latter as young Lando Calrissian).

Whilst there will no doubt be a massive amount of behind the scenes scrambling to salvage the project (Apollo 13's Ron Howard is one of the names that has been thrown into the ring), we thought we'd present our own choices.

Joss Whedon

A pop culture colossus who has already bestrode the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the two Avengers movies, Whedon will further cement his poppy, fan-pleasing approach by taking over the Justice League movie from Zack Snyder. Indeed, it's been confirmed that Whedon's witty, lighter touch will be a massive influence on the tone of the DC Movie Universe going forward.

Clearly Hollywood loves Whedon's blend of smart, savvy dialogue, spectacular action and impactful character beats (honed from his Buffy days). We reckon he's got enough mainstream appeal and idiosyncratic quirks to make him the perfect choice for the Han Solo movie. Whether he'll have time to fit it in around his DCEU duties however is another matter.

Jon Favreau

Already tangentially connected to the Star Wars universe (he was one of those in the running to direct The Force Awakens), Favreau has shown more than enough command of big screen spectacle to make him the perfect choice.

Last year's The Jungle Book was a breakthrough in seamless CGI effects and it was also a triumph of tone, meshing the family-friendly antics of Disney's 1967 classic with the darker impulses of Rudyard Kipling's source novel.

Favreau has demonstrated he can connect with a massive audience using heart and emotion, as his success stories Elf and Iron Man also prove. The latter kick-started the Marvel Cinematic Universe, arguably the most influential franchise we have today. We can only imagine what the possibilities are if he took over Han Solo.

Patty Jenkins

Put simply, contemporary directors don't come buzzier or more feted than Jenkins. As the first woman to helm not just a DCEU movie but a superhero movie full stop, she transformed Wonder Woman into a gloriously entertaining box office success.

Mixing heart, humour, action and a deep-seated affection for the title character, Jenkins' triumph was so absolute that we questioned how on earth DC hadn't got it right with either Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad. It's largely thanks to her that the future of the franchise looks far brighter than it did a year ago.

What's all the more remarkable is that she had only directed one movie before that: serial killer biopic Monster back in 2003, which resulted in an Oscar for Charlize Theron. Jenkins can clearly work with an eye both on studio input and audience appreciation – she's surely got the right mix to tackle Han Solo's origin story.

Joe Johnston

Ultimately, Lucasfilm might stick with someone closer to home, someone with personal history connected to the Star Wars universe.

Not only the designer of bounty hunter Boba Fett's distinctive armour, Johnston played an active role in the company's early development. Johnston responded to an ad looking for a storyboard artist at college, which turned out to be for George Lucas's Lucasfilm Ltd. company. Johnston began working at the company, eventually promoted to a head storyboard position that frequently teamed him with Lucas in the editing room.

He then went on to become something of a family adventure expert in his own right with the likes of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer and Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger. All of those movies demonstrate a pitch-perfect mix of action, effects and humour, all of which will surely play a big part in Solo's, erm, solo movie.

Sam Raimi

Perhaps at the end of the day, Lord and Miller were just a bit too quirky for Kennedy's liking? Maybe what's needed is a director with a singular vision but who can still pull massive projects in on time whilst also giving the studio what they want.

Raimi has proven that with his blockbusting Spider-Man trilogy, the movies that arguably revitalised the superhero genre for the 21st century and made us acutely aware what they were capable of. He was working within the studio system whilst imprinting the movies with his distinct Evil Dead horror background – remember the terrifying hospital scene in Spider-Man 2? That hits the sort of levels rarely seen in mainstream blockbusters.

Plus, given the Han Solo movie is purported to have Western influences, let's not forget that in 1995 Raimi made quirky gunslinger epic The Quick and the Dead with Sharon Stone. Need we say more?

Matt Reeves

At the end of the day, it's imperative that the producers and studio trust the director implicitly. Reeves has slowly and steadily gained trust with 20th Century Fox as a result of his superb Planet of the Apes epics, which began with 2014's stunning Dawn and which continues this July with War.

Reeves has shown an uncanny ability to give the studio what they want whilst also investing his movies with palpable atmosphere and characterful touches – this goes all the way back to 2008's found-footage spectacular Cloverfield, which he made for Paramount.

Plus, Reeves now also has DC's backing as he's the man poised to take over The Batman from Ben Affleck. The man has trust and raw filmmaking skill on his side. We imagine he'd be a top choice for the Han Solo job.

Who do you think should direct the Han Solo movie? And what do you think the future of the project is? Let us know @Cineworld.