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Phil Lord & Chris Miller say 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' experience made them 'better filmmakers'
"We shot 90 days on that movie, you can’t take the experience away from us."
According to Phil Lord, there are "two sides" to every Star Wars story. While appearing on The Business podcast hosted by Kim Masters, the filmmaker and his usual creative partner, Chris Miller, looked back on their firing from Lucasfilm's standalone movie about a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich). The 21 Jump Street and LEGO Movie duo had been in production for six months when the studio replaced them with Oscar-winner Ron Howard.
"[For] every success that is public, there are many things that don’t happen and don’t come to light and many disappointments," Lord said. "Certainly, we’ve had an ebb and flow in our career. Maybe not as visible. So, at the end of the day, you’re always in film school and you’re always learning and trying to become a better filmmaker. As negative as the ending of that was and as deeply misunderstood as I believe we felt, the lasting memory is of the great collaboration we had. We shot 90 days on that movie, you can’t take the experience away from us … and we had a very fruitful, creative time on that with all the departments and with one another and we became better filmmakers for it. So, at the end of the day, when we walked into Spider-Verse to work on that…in a funny way, it isn’t a debacle, it’s actually just on the continuum of learning and becoming a great filmmaker."
“We certainly became better filmmakers and we’ve met such amazing, talented crew that we still work with and are in touch with and love to this day," echoed Miller. "So ultimately, it was a positive experience that had a hard-to-get-through chapter, but luckily, we had a lot of other things to jump into and funnel all the creativity and things that we had learned into those things."
Solo: A Star Wars Story arrived in theaters in May 2018 and despite favorable reviews, the movie underperformed at the box office, accruing less than $400 million worldwide against a budget of close to $300 million. For comparison, Rogue One did over $1 billion in sales. The disappointing financial performance of Solo forced Lucasfilm to rethink its plans for more spinoffs (one of them was said to be an origin story for the Mos Eisley Cantina) and even a number of sequels that Ehrenreich had reportedly signed up for.
“It depends on what it is. It depends on how it's done. It depends if it feels innate to the story," the actor told Esquire when asked if he'd ever return to play the scruffy-looking smuggler. He later concluded: "I've heard soooome stuff, but nothing concrete."