How Ron Howard and the Kasdans made ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ their own

After the controversial exit of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the Solo: A Star Wars Story, many fans were worried about how the ‘solo’ film of the famous smuggler would end up.

The hope for the film ended up in the hands of the beloved director, Ron Howard. With Howard’s successful history of films, many fans were not worried about how Solo would play out. But, there was still some questions to be made of how much of the film will feel like a Star Wars film, but also tell its own story. Howard relied on screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan to keep it true to the Star Wars story.

“Well, I’m going to start and quickly throw that, because, because you know, I approach it, and I’m a fan, and I’ve always appreciated the movies, but I’m not encyclopedic,” Howard explained his approach during the Solo press junket on Saturday.  “I don’t know everything.  I haven’t seen everything.  I haven’t read everything.  And so I came into this situation and immediately, of course, I had to start working more off of instinct than anything else, and this great screenplay, that I really believed in — and a cast that I, I certainly wouldn’t have come, you know, onboard if I didn’t love the cast and was excited about working with them.”

Howard worked closely with the Kasdans to follow the story as close to canon as possible.

Howard added, “I immediately said, you know, I’m going to treat this like it’s a true story.  I’ve done a lot of true stories. And, I always have technical advisors around. I sort of go for the heart. I go for the drama, the excitement of the narrative, of the story and then I let the technical advisors tell me, you know, where else it could go or what I might be overlooking. That’s honestly the way I approached this.  So many people around it were those guides for me, but I was just operating off my own imagination and my own sort of sense of what I’d like to see or what I, what I think these characters could be going.”

Jonathan Kasdan and Larence Kasdan, who previously worked on Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Force Awakens, were key in keeping the story true to Star Wars. Howard also called Jonathan the Star Wars encyclopedia for the production. The Kasdans also wanted to give Solo a different edge than the previous films.

Lawrence Kasdan told the audience,”Well, when I got involved back on The Empire Strikes Back, I don’t think I ever thought of it, oh, this is Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars.  I thought, what had gotten me when I had no connection to it, on A New Hope, but this is a great story. George had set up something that could go off in many different directions and that would be wonderful for a long time. I’ve never really changed my opinion of that.  It happens to be a Star Wars story, but I always first, we were trying to tell a story that would keep you interested — you meet these people and you say, well, that’s a great person and now they’re meeting a great person.  And they’re going to be in a lot of trouble together.  And that is much more important to me than any particular Star Wars.

Jonathan Kasdan agreed, “Yeah, and we approached the movie much more in terms of a kind of genre movie, a crime movie, a western that we could fit Han Solo into a character that we loved that that comes out of a great tradition of Bogart characters and McQueen characters and say, okay, how do we plug that guy into the kind of movie we love and the kind of story we want to see and in doing so, we’re able to sort of have along the way these moments that are familiar and that people connect with because they have personal relationships with these characters and it gives it an added level of sort of pleasure, I think.  But at its base it’s, it’s really trying to be its best version of us, of a western, or of a crime movie.”

Howard really got along with the cast and creatives on the set of the film. He praised the Kasdans for their work on the film, “I love collaborating with the Kasdans. I love collaborating with this cast and sort of rallying behind, you know, what was an opportunity that I think we all believed audiences can really enjoy.  So it was always just, what can this scene be?  What else can it be?  What are the other choices?  Engaging, you know, incredibly talented and creative people to maximize what was a great opportunity.”

Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25th in theaters everywhere.

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1811 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul