Can Ron Howard Save ‘Solo’?

The director stepped in when the original filmmaking team was fired. As for why he agreed to take over, well, we actually can’t print his answer.

Comments: 59

  1. From a financial perspective, this film never needed saving. There is a built-in fan base that will see it no matter what (ashamed to include myself in that).

    However, could Mr. Howard protect the high rotten tomatoes scores for all of the newest Star Wars films? Maybe - but maybe not. At the time I am writing this comment, "Solo" is at 70%. This is well below what the most recent installments earned (The Last Jedi, for instance, is currently at 91%).

    The good news is that like "Rogue One," this is a stand-alone film that will not need their sequels saved.

    Hey, 70% isn't THAT bad. It could definitely be worse (remember the prequels?).

  2. 70% on a yet to be released film. The epitome of a pointless score.

  3. " ... that will not need their sequels saved. " Ummm ... I fully expect a "Solo2" to tie Han's story to Tatooine, where Han gets crosswise with Jabba the Hutt (remember the cantina scene?). There is a reference to a "job on Tatooine ..."

  4. Dave, "transcended" Splash and Night Shift? They were two of the best and most underappreciated comedies of their era! A Bruce Jay Friedman screenplay, seminal performances by Michael Keaten and John Candy and another hooker with a heart of gold this time played by Shelley Long. Why would anyone want to transcend that? How many mainstream Hollywood comedies have lived up to 'Splash'? Trainwrieck, Tootsie, the Fockers, Midnight Run, a couple of Judd Apatow's and...?

  5. I haven't seen Night Shift -- maybe I'll see if I can find it on Amazon or Netflix -- but Splash was definitely a really good, and under-appreciated, movie.

  6. Night shift is pretty funny, a must see if you appreciate Michael Keaton.

  7. If you have Howard or Speilberg you are assured the same thing, schlock for 12 year olds.

  8. Why drag Spielberg into this? Apples and oranges - Ron Howard's films are cinematic white bread with no risks taken. Spielberg swings, sometimes misses (1942, Always) but often cranks it (Munich, Jaws, Bridge of Spies etc).

  9. Schindler's List is schlock for 12-year olds?

  10. Our pitiful Hollywood, long ago ran out of new ideas; they should learn to read, instead of drink, drugs, and sex!

  11. It is a myth that today's Hollywood only does sequels, prequels, franchises, remakes, etc. Hollywood ALWAYS did that. The earliest Hollywood silent films were all based on popular novels and bible stories. When sound came in, most of those early silent films were remade. (There was a 1910 silent Frankenstein from Edison studios and a 1925 Wizard of Oz with Oliver Hardy as the Tin Woodman).

    There was Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, Blondie, Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan, Zorro, Dr. Kildare, Andy Hardy, Tarzan, The Marx Brothers (essentially playing the same characters in every film), "Broadway Melody of 19..", The Thin Man, Andy Hardy, Sherlock Holmes, "The. Big Broadcast of 19..", Bulldog Drummond, the Hope-Crosby Road pics, the Astaire-Rodgers musicals, the lookalike Elvis Presley movies, the Bowery Boys/Dead-End Kids, Topper, Jungle Jim, Buck Rogers, the Universal horror films and on and on.

    You might not like Hollywood's current offerings (I don't either), but the market has spoken. Black Panther has grossed $1.34 billion worldwide, Wonder Woman $822 million, Avengers: Infinity War $1.82 billion. But there's been plenty of quite good recent movies as well, such as (but not limited to): Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, Rules Don't Apply, LaLa Land, Their Finest, The Big Sick, Dunkirk, The Florida Project, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Shape of Water, The Post, The Death of Stalin, etc. Not one prequel, sequel, franchise or remake among them.

  12. “. . . she sought him out because the film needed “somebody who is going to be nonthreatening and very collaborative and, most importantly in this case, somebody who really, deeply understood actors and performance, and the cast could very quickly feel comfortable and safe with.” She added, “Ron just exudes that.”

    Ron Howard and I are the same age. I feel as if in some ways, “we grew up together”, from seeing him play Opie Taylor to Richie Cunningham on TV and then out watching in awe as he continued to spread his creative and artistic wings and with his illustrious film and directing career.

    The above quote by Kathleen Kennedy seems to truly embody Mr. Howard’s down to earth wholesomeness and his true character qualities – trustworthiness, integrity, honesty, sincerity, professional, just to name a few.

    He continues to be okay with the movies he made that were not block busters or barely successful, and sees each new project as a learning experience. The fact that he is secure and happy with how his life turned out and continues to evolve speaks volumes of this man.

    I’ve never been a Star Wars fan, but a dedicated Ron Howard fan, which is the only reason why I will see this movie. Heck, he could direct traffic and I would stand on the street corner, admiring his abilities.

  13. Ron Howard is a genius with a big heart. He makes great films to entertain and inform.

  14. I was always tepid about Ron Howard, always thought he was rote and safe in his film making, with the occasional interesting selection when the subject called for that approach.
    "Rush" changed my mind. I was excited when he took over "Solo". I was terrified Lord and Miller would bend try to be to hip, I think Ron Howard has a much better shot at achieving a brand timelessness the best of Star Wars movies seem to have.

  15. Ron Howard, just as Ridley Scott, is a very hit and miss director in my opinion. He's made some great movies such as Apollo 13, Rush and Willow, A Beautiful Minda, Cinderella Man etc. He's also made some so-so movies and some really bad ones(Inferno). I franchise I would like for him to take on is Jurassic Park. I think he'd be a good fit for that.

    I am a huge Star Wars fan but Solo is just an unnecessary movie. I was really excited with Chris Lord and Phil Miller on board. For some odd reason every Star Wars movie since Kathleen Kennedy has been having production problems. Something needs to change.

  16. "For some odd reason every Star Wars movie since Kathleen Kennedy has been having problems." Pretty sure her track record as a producer speaker for itself.

    For some odd reason every Star Wars movie since Disney has been having production problems.

    For some odd reason every Star Wars movie has been having production problems.

    For some odd reason every movie has production problems. But few are held under the microscope the same way as the Star Wars movies.

  17. Name a great movie directed by Ron Howard. Now name a fiasco directed by Ron Howard. Exactly; the ledger board reads "zero" at both ends. Mr. Howard is the epitome of middle-brow competence, which is not a bad thing for the director of a commercial genre-film and which means that this movie will likely occupy a qualitative position right in between "Star Wars, episode 4" and "Star Wars, episode 2," both of which were directed by the same erratic genius. One thing further: can anyone tell the difference between Alden Ehrenreich and Ansel Elgort? It just recently occurred to me that they're not one and the same person.

  18. The Missing, always mysteriously overlooked.

  19. Nepotism is America's last shared national faith, and Bland Old Opey is establishment nepotism incarnate. That's why his movies go down with Joe and Jane 6-Pack like lubed egg yolks.

  20. those are great or those are fiascos? or those are just "good", which was the original point?

  21. I'm not sure why no one mentions Parenthood when talking about great Ron Howard movies.

    Maybe it is just me, but it is my all time favorite movie.

    The character development, the surprise turn of events and the comedy are outstanding.

    The facial expressions of the grandmother watching her family in various scene in the movie make me laugh every time.

    But it would not be the first time in my life that I have found my evaluations are far away from the majority.

  22. If Kathleen Kennedy is the type of Lucasfilm executive responsible for things like Jar Jar Binks, Phil Lord isn't the one who should've been fired. Lucasfilm constantly destroys the Star Wars canon by dumbing things down to the least common denominator. The original franchise was a clean cut film for adults and teens that kids could also enjoy. The quintessential PG adventure film.

    Lucasfilm always seems determined to bring that rating down to G no matter what damage they cause to the cinematic themes. Episodes I and II are excellent examples. The series reboot was more successful because they pushed the boundary into more adult territory. "Rouge One" being the best example. There are still some awkward moments but the film was mostly successful. Whenever the films try to get cute though, the entire cinematic ambiance feels like you just crashed into a brick wall. You can have comic relief without porgs. Lucasfilm doesn't seem to get that.

    Personally, if I were to pick a director for "Solo," I would have tried something completely different. Ron Howard is safe and talented but how about Christopher Nolan? Imagine how that would look.

  23. Highly doubt Nolan would ever do Star Wars, He'd be best for Bond though. I would absolutely love for him to do Bond after Craig is done with the franchise.

    David Fincher(Fight Club, Se7en, The Social Network) was courted to do Episode IX but turned it down..

    Also Kathleen is not responsible for Jar Jar. George Lucas is. He created that character.

    I do agree with you that we should get more auter directors to do Star Wars

  24. Considering that the creation of Jar Jar Binks pre-dates Kennedy's hiring at Lucasfilm by more than a decade (a fact easily traceable with one or two seconds of research), maybe that's not the best analogy to use.

    There's been ten Star Wars movies released between 1977 and today (including the animated Clone Wars movie), with #11 coming tomorrow. Of those ten, three of them were produced by Kennedy, and all three Kennedy-produced efforts easily rank much higher than the last four made under Lucas. And if Porgs are your biggest complaint about the newest movie, that pretty much shows it's a good film.

  25. I think Howard is a better director than Christopher Nolan and without doubt a far better genre director, whose action scenes are highly superior. So Howard's absolutely the preferred choice for this. Let's hope he can help something happen on a movie that he personally did not develop at the script stage.

  26. Who is the Mr. Ford who the article say co-starred with Mr. Howard in American Graffiti?

  27. You must be the same person who claims to have grown up with Ron Howard watching Mayberry, yet you mis -pronounce his name - it OPIE, Not Obie, & YES H. Ford WAS in A.G.

  28. That was how Ford got the part of Han Solo. It was from American Graffiti that Lucas met him, and then asked him to be Han in Star Wars.

  29. Mr. Ford has a small part but he is indeed in it.

  30. Okay.
    Blab on, all ye wise aficionados of Star Wars-iana.
    Because "Solo"'s marketing, scheduling, and branding strategies are light years beyond anything you, or Rotten Tomatoes, can do to it.
    (It's also worth noting how much the young Solo, Alden Ehrenreich, resembles the Anakin Skywalker figure from the animated Clone Wars series- which was such an improvement on Haydyn Christensen in the films. Marketing/branding strategy for post-millennials?)

  31. I worked for Lucasfilm and George Lucas for 20 years. Did the Space Battle in "Return of the Jedi" and have a new book out about that experience called, "Inside The Star Wars Empire" It is traditionally published by Rowman & Littlefield/Lyons Press. You can find it at Barnes & Noble or any fine book store. In it I tell all the stories about making Star Wars and also working with Ron Howard who, by the way, is not only a great director but a great guy. You can find out more about me and my book here...

  32. This lies and dies with JJ. He has taken the reigns of an otherwise alluring francise and turned it into a cheesy cash casino where fans can have anything they want all the time. I'm done with Star Bores

  33. Nepotism, America's true national faith, performs CPR on yet another forgettable flick coughed up by our bland corporate culture.

  34. Thank you Obie for proving there is nothing wrong with being 64 years old and staying busy! That is from another 64 year who grew up watching Andy and the Mayberry crew.

  35. Pardon me - SIXTY SIX here - it's Opie, not Obie (wan ?)

  36. Show him respect by referring to his REAL name.

  37. "Solo" was a barely serviceable movie. The damage done to it by the previous two bumbling, overrated hack directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, was just too much for even Ron Howard to save. "Solo" is not as terrible as "The Last Jedi" was...but it is a big mess...t be generous to it...

  38. Good luck, Mr. Howard, for trying to breathe life into this dead cash horse.

  39. Seems as though I am the only odd-out. I adore the Star Wars saga (some better than others, sure) and will love SOLO. Sink into a fantasy that is so welcomed instead of the garbage films of the past few years.

    I will LOVE this I am sure. Peace out.

  40. Good for you, Opie. And I heard you found a role for brother Clint, also. A talisman for certain.

  41. For what it's worth, this aging movie fan, who saw the first Star Wars film after standing in a line for nearly two hours, "Solo" is a fine prequel. Very good cast, a wonderful Chewbacca, terrific action scenes, and a narrative thread that moves forward without the time-jumping shenanigans of recent flicks, Alden Ehrenreich, who plays Solo, was unknown to me but he had just the right amount of insouciance of Harrison Ford. Woody Harrelson was as usual quirky, funny and always a bit foreboding.

    See the movie for yourself and ignore the negative buzz. Ron Howard should be praised for pulling this movie through.

  42. I sincerely *hope that Mr. Howard is being "polite" in referring
    to his film "In The Heart Of The Sea" as a "misstep" - and if it was a "disappointment" of *any kind, I would like to remind Opie of the old biblical injunction against "casting [one's] pearls before swine".

    To a National audience dumbed-down and transfixed like hypnotized chickens on a "kill line" into paying *money to sit for two hours worth of indoctrination into Comic Manufacturers' Franchise Infomercial "movies", Opie's "Heart Of The Sea" was *WAY over the head of the average National audience member.

    Swine not only do not recognize "pearls", swine would have absolutely NO *use for pearls if they *did recognize them !
    "Can't eat 'em, can't ...."

    Unless one has *READ Melville, one is not likely to "get" the premise of "Heart Of The Sea", which Mr. Howard bases upon the *same TRUE story that very likely *had to have been the inspiration *for Melville's "Moby Dick". Melville was *himself a sailor on those old Whalers, and the age and timing of the TRUE story upon which Howard based his movie was such that Melville could *not conceivably have remained unaware of it living, as he did, in the Whaling New England region of the U.S. at the time of his writing.

    The fault, good Opie, is *not in your "missteps" in story telling or in film making, but in your naive effort to present the modern National audience with *anything a half-caliber *above the mental mush of contemporary Comic Book drivel !

  43. "Heart of the Sea" was BEAUTIFULLY directed with spectacularly laid out action scenes--and interesting to boot. But who knows how many people have read "Moby Dick," and can also "read" cinema?

    But here's the real problem with Hollywood genre directors like Howard, who is a top-drawer one who has made many different kinds of films, some of them really excellent. Critics give no credit for what these directors can do, so audiences are mislead into skipping their work. Fortunately, those few who saw "Heart," I suspect, loved it.

  44. The headline makes no sense. (It would have made sense if it was written months ago.). It should have read, "Did Ron Howard save Solo?"

  45. Sadly, no. It was an awful film. The worst of the worst StarWars. Blah.

  46. I thoroughly resent the implication that Ron Howard, as good as a director as he is, can "save" Solo when we will never know if the directors who preceeding him where going to mess it up in the first place. Did Solo really need saving?

  47. Ron Howard is a terrific director. Anything he lends a hand to will only be better for it.

  48. Based on seeing the film, it looks like Mr. Howard evened out the edges and made the pieces fit together. It is not a great film, but it fills the bill. My guess is the previous directors’ work may have produced something like Valerian, a vision piece with a new look, but jagged set pieces, that many would not like. The one gap that Ron Howard could not fix is the slotting in the SW time line. I had the idea, given the actor’s age, that the Solo character would get some seasoning, if only by imagined time. The actor did fine as a 22 years old callow Han. Apparently, the 30 years old galaxy seasoned Harrison Ford is only a few months away. That is a stretch.

  49. It takes place about 10 years before the original film. Sure, the ending implies he and Chewie are off to join Jabba's organization, but it's obvious they worked for him for years.

  50. Star Wars was a story that was great to watch with my kids. Now it is just meh. Battlestar Gallitica (the reboot) left the SW series in space dust. JMO, please enjoy if you love Han and company.

    I comment because I very much enjoyed reading about Ron Howard - his attitudes, his philosophy, his apparent true decency.
    He has done great work and takes a stumble in stride. These days it is so refreshing to read about such people with maturity, talent and drive.

    I will probably pass on Solo (or view on a TV in a few years) but I will be very excited to see "Hillbilly Elegy" - one of the most important books of this decade. Good choice Ron!

    Great article despite the wierd headline.

  51. The question should be "Can someone save the Star Wars franchise from Disney?"

    Having purchased the franchise from George Lucas, Disney needs to make movies to recoup its financial outlay. As a young adult when the first three movies came out in 1977, 1980 and 1983, the new Disney movies do not have an appreciation of what made those earlier movies work. (My son, a passionate Star Wars fan, thought that running out of fuel for the rebel's ship, was lame considering it never was an issue in any of the Lucas movies.)

    I will hope that Disney does better with future Star Wars movies.

  52. Disney is an entertainment empire, and the movies they make are never going to have the scrappy tone and humor of the original Star Wars movie. (The third in that series, IMO, wasn't a particularly good film, although the first two made up for it, and Hayden Christensen's acting was so terrible it ruined the second two films in the second series.) I loved Rogue One and also liked the new series in which Daisy ? plays the hero. I'm not sure anyone could reinfect the freshness of the original Star Wars movie, which bowled me over with the bar scene, the good-natured humor and the more thoughtful and less violent action scenes.

  53. I thought this movie was better than the reviews I read, which is not something I often say? As good as the original Star Wars films? Maybe not. But a good action film that's not just appearance of one superhero after another looking cool interspersed with fight scenes? Yes.

  54. I hope the cast and crew referred to Mr Howard as 'Opie Wan' at least once.

  55. 1) I need some mind-bleach to rid myself of the image of Harrison Ford as Han Solo.
    2) L3 is wonderful - I wonder why it is that these films get the 'droids just right? Within the series, she more than makes up for the disastrous Jar Jar Binks.
    3) There is enough foreshadowing (reference to the "job on Tatooine") for a "Solo2." I wonder whether Howard can do much character development with Jabba the Hutt.

  56. Will anyone be horrified that the person who played "Opie Taylor" uses curse words?

    Will the be a "hash tag" movement next?

  57. Thandie Newton and composer John Powell saved Solo.

  58. Likely not qualified, appointed to meet a gender quota ms Kennedy, the President of Lucas film, said too much when she slander-accused Lord and Miller of daring to disagree with her via her backhanded qualification description of Howard as "nonthreatening" and "safe" has surely created another "safe" boring prequel. Mind you in a universe where countless thousands of new, different and better stories are created every year that could be told if anyone in Hollywood had any courage or God forbid cared about the common good. But no. And Howard for his part definitely embodies the Hollywood status quo as "nonthreatening" for he most recently proved himself an obedient mercenary by reversing the conclusion of one of the most courageous environmentally themed stories in decades. He caused the antagonist-protagonist hero in Dan Brown's "Inferno" to fail - his plot to stabilize the earth's human population to be defeated. Howard mumbled some incoherent excuse. But its obvious he got the signal from someone like Kennedy that the Robber Barons that rule humanity might not be "comfortable" with the public getting the unequivocal message that our elites can't continue to get away with rigging the world so they can have 1 billion more people to sell stuff to every 15 years without causing a biosphere crash by 2100. You know we just can't have sci fi film viewers imagining a future with a stable sustainable human population because that might threat the global 1%'s profits.

  59. I saw the movie over the weekend, more because Lawrence Kasdan wrote it. I’ve been a fan of his since The Big Chill and, of course, The Empire Strikes Back. It didn’t hurt that Ron Howard was involved since I’ve always admired him. The movie itself follows the same disappointing arc that all adventure films follow these days: thin plot, little character development and dizzying action that is repelling rather than exciting. The cinematography was ghastly—the entire film shrouded in a dark blue tint. I used to think that as a culture, we lost the art of storytelling. But I’ve come to the conclusion, most likely unoriginal, that even heavyweights like Kasdan and Howard can’t make a good film anymore, much less save one. The art form itself and any truth about the world that it might inspire have been subordinated to the demands of corporate marketing and revenue from streaming long after the movie has disappeared from theaters. In other words, movies are dead. Read a book.