When it comes to Star Wars, Ron Howard was there in the beginning with George Lucas on American Graffiti. When it came time for Howard to take over directing for Solo: A Star Wars Story, he was more than a little relieved when Lucas came to visit the set on the first day, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“He came by to visit the first day that I picked up shooting. George and his wife, Melody, came by to pay a little set visit. It made me feel great,” Howard says. “He told me just trust my instincts, you know? I know he kind of fundamentally feels like, first and foremost, [these films are] sort of for 12-year-old boys, and yet even he knows that it’s grown so far beyond that, and the fans have grown with the series in a great, important way. So he didn’t offer a lot of advice except, ‘You’ll get this.’”
A quick trip turned into something much longer, according to Kathleen Kennedy. One hour became two, until Lucas was on set for five hours. Then he did a little something that is going to make some Star Wars fans lose their minds.
“He had intended to just kind of stop by and say hi, and he stayed five hours,” Kennedy says. “There’s even one little moment in a scene that — I can’t tell you what, sorry — but in the scene on the Millennium Falcon where George said, ‘Why doesn’t Han just do this.’”
Lucas got to direct a small part of a scene, which means that fans are going to be going over this movie with a fine-tooth comb trying to figure out which one.
“It actually is a funny little bit that will probably get a laugh,” Kennedy says. “And Ron happened to be by the monitor and not inside the Falcon and he goes, ‘Oh that’s a great idea,’ and ran in and said, ‘George wants us to do this.’ So that was pretty cool. I think George felt pretty great about that. He could revisit these characters, and I think he felt so comfortable, obviously with Ron being there, that it was just fun for him.”
Lucas might have sold Star Wars off to Disney, but this is still his creation, and the fact that he got to come back to it, even a little, was probably the best.
Lucas’ final wisdom for his old American Graffiti actor: ‘just enjoy this.’ “And I really have enjoyed it,” Howard says. “It’s a fun tone. And of course, with the Kasdans writing it and it being a young Han Solo movie, there’s this swagger, and there’s this sense of humor and this kind of youthful emotion and intensity.”
The fact that Howard says he got a lot of joy out of this project, after stepping into it with all the cards stacked against him, is a good thing. It’s very apparent when filmmakers are really enjoying what they are doing. A genuine passion project, even one that stumbles, is always better than a safe and soulless alternative.
Summary: Han Solo and Chewbacca’s adventures before joining the Rebellion, including their early encounters with Lando Calrissian.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, stars Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Thandie Newton. It will be released May 25th.