For some reason, we're going to get a Han Solo Star Wars movie that shows Han's story before he meets Luke, Obi-Wan and the crew. It's a movie that has to clear a very high bar of "Why is this here?" to clear. Which means that the Lucasfilm/Disney people running it are holding some pretty tight reins, and among those people are Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan. Both of them have a decent track record of creating crowd-pleaser movies that are often high-quality as well.
Initially, the thought seemed to be to shake things up a bit by hiring the maverick directing duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Lord and Miller have worked mostly on comedies, and it apparently their vision of the movie leaned comedic. Kasdan, who helped write Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back and is sometimes credited for saving the whole Star Wars franchise from George Lucas' excesses, felt the character was not comedic, but quite a bit more selfish and sarcastic. Push came to shove, and producer Kennedy backed her longtime colleague. Lord and Miller were fired this week. Ron Howard has been tapped to finish the movie.
Lord and Miller themselves have been professional and gracious in their on-the-record comments following being let go. A lot of reaction on some of the entertainment news sites is less so, as Howard is viewed as a "safer" choice than they were and less likely to test the Star Wars universe with something different. More than one writer lamented the change, with some equating the Lord and Miller Solo with Edgar Wright's aborted run on Ant-Man.
Now, I think this is a movie that has no reason whatsoever to exist, but that's because I'm not a Disney shareholder. Even though I'm a Star Wars fan and I enjoyed Rogue One, I'm still on the fence about whether or not I'll see any of these prequels in the theater. After all, "Star Wars" and "prequel" don't inspire confidence already. But we'll see.
In any event, I have to wonder about the complaints. On the one hand, we've got a director who's responsible for Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, among others. On the other, we've got a duo who have directed four movies, one of which is the entertaining The Lego Movie but two of which are 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street. Nothing says Lord and Miller would have bombed or made an awful movie but at worst this is an even swap and is more likely a trade up. I'm still a lot more likely to wait for this to hit Netflix, but now I might not have a backup rental downloaded for the treadmill in case it stinks too bad to finish.