New Han Solo director Ron Howard definitely passes the Star Wars fan test

Contributed by
Dec 20, 2018, 4:00 PM EST (Updated)

It's a strange situation for anyone to be in, taking over the directing of a film more than four months into shooting. But for Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, it's a challenge he simply couldn't and wouldn't pass up. The new director of Han Solo: A Star Wars Story (not final title), replacing directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller after their ousting for creative differences, has begun talking about the project, or at least his excitement about it, as he digs into what's been shot so far and resumes shooting in a couple of weeks on July 10.

"It's gratifying to lend my voice to the Star Wars universe now," Howard said at a Cannes Lions on-stage interview, THR reports. A fan of the franchise "forever," and someone who's worked both directly with George Lucas as an actor in American Graffiti and Lucasfilm as a director with Willow, he's got the street cred part down. Still, as every director and writer involved with these new Star Wars films has done so far, he offered up a little extra: as a fan.

After waiting in line for two hours to see the first film in theaters with his wife, Howard said, "We left almost speechless, and I said, 'Do you want to see it again?' And we got in line and waited another 90 minutes to see it twice the same day."

Any fan who has watched their own marathon of Star Wars films, or just watched the same one two, three, five times in one day, can certainly relate.

Howard likewise took to twitter after the announcement yesterday, reiterating his excitement while also showing respect to both the character, franchise, and the work done so far by Lord and Miller.

"I'm beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since 5/25/77," he said, referring to the release date of the first film. "I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film."

Aside from Howard's personal fandom credibility, his ability to manage both big-budget action, intense drama, and, of course, comedic moments in his past projects does make him an ideal candidate for a Star Wars film, especially one centered on everyone's favorite rogue. Having Lawrence Kasdan, who has been writing Han Solo's adventures for just under 40 years, at his disposal certainly doesn't hurt, either.

The untitled Han Solo movie, written by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, is still due out on May 25, 2018 (exactly 41 years from the release of Star Wars: A New Hope). Alden Ehrenreic stars as the young Han Solo, with Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Emilia Clarke in as-yet-unrevealed roles.