Ron Howard Commends Phil Lord and Chris Miller's "Great" Work on Han Solo Movie

After Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired, the director hopes "to honor the great work already done"

By Zach Johnson Jun 23, 2017 3:00 PMTags

Ron Howard has a lot of work to do.

On Thursday, Lucasfilm announced he has replaced directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the untitled Han Solo movie, slated for release on May 25, 2018. Later that night, Howard tweeted, "I'm beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since 5/25/77. I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film."

Howard spoke more about his involvement with Stars Wars at Cannes Lion Friday.

In a discussion alongside New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, Howard said he hopes "to honor the great work already done" on the upcoming movie.

Fred Lee/ABC

Howard, who'd been approached by franchise creator George Lucas to direct 1999's Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, is a lifelong fan. "I've been around the Star Wars universe from the beginning," Howard said (via Deadline). "When I was being directed by George Lucas on American Graffiti in 1972, we were standing out in front of Mel's Drive-In in San Francisco where we were shooting and I said, 'Do you know what you think your next film might be?' And he said, 'Yeah, I want to do a science fiction movie, but a really fun one like Flash Gordon with the effects of Stanley Kubrick's 2001.' I thought, 'That sounds like a kind of crazy idea.'"

The director recalled how he and his wife were "so curious" when the first film in the series premiered in 1977. They went to see it on the first day of release and were "so moved by the movie," he shared. "It was all the things you dream you're going to experience in the movies."

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In fact, Howard and his wife loved Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope so much that they waited another 90 minutes to see it a second time that same afternoon. "So many people involved with the Star Wars franchise are friends," he explained. "It's gratifying to be able to lend my voice to the universe, coming in when it's already been in production." Without referencing Lord and Miller by name, Howard added, "There's a great amount of work done."

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said Thursday that filming will resume July 10. Noting Star Wars' commitment to "delight" audiences worldwide, she added, "We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie."

The original directors were fired Monday.

"Unfortunately, our vision and process weren't aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren't fans of the phrase 'creative differences,' but for once this cliché is true," Lord and Miller said. "We're really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew."