Star Wars

Ron Howard on ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Movie Directing Gig: ‘I’ve Been a Fan Forever’

Ron Howard

Ron Howard, freshly tasked with taking over directing the “Star Wars” Han Solo spinoff movie, said he’s been around the space-epic franchise from the very beginning — and that he’s ready to immerse himself deeply into studying “Star Wars” lore.

“I’ve been a fan forever,” said Howard, speaking Friday at the Cannes Lions advertising and media conference. “It’s gratifying to be asked to lend my voice to the [Star Wars] universe.”

Disney’s Lucasfilm on Thursday officially tapped Howard to finish making the movie, after studio president Kathleen Kennedy fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller this week because the duo were seen as overstepping their remit by going off-script with comedic touches.

“It’s a little opportunity that came my way,” Howard said when initially asked about the “Star Wars” job by panel moderator Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP.

Howard recalled that in 1972, George Lucas told him about his plans for a “fun” sci-fi film, incorporating special effects like those used in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” when Howard was appearing as an actor in Lucas’ “American Graffiti” (which also featured Harrison Ford, who went on to play Han Solo).

Ron Howard
Ron Howard to Take Over as Director of ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff

When “Star Wars” came out, on opening day Howard said he and his wife, Cheryl, went to go see it — and they stood in line for two hours to get in. “I was so moved by the movie,” he said. “I was transported by the movie… We literally left almost speechless.” They decided to see…

‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits

Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were dumped from the Han Solo spinoff film this week after more than four months of production, an unusually late date to make a shift behind the camera. That leaves the “Star Wars” production scrambling to find a replacement with weeks left of shooting and a scheduled five weeks of reshoots coming later this summer, an unenviable position for one of the biggest franchises in the entertainment industry and all involved.

The film, which is still untitled, isn’t the first to change its director in midstream. Classics such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz” cycled through filmmakers, while duds like “The 13th Warrior” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau” also brought in fresh blood in the middle of shooting. But despite plenty of precedents, Lord and Miller’s firing is setting tongues wagging.

“It has certainly happened on a number of occasions, but not under such scrutiny and not usually this far into production,” said Leonard Maltin, a film critic and historian.

Frequently, a director is dropped after he finds himself on the losing end of a power struggle. During “Gone With the Wind,” Clark Gable pushed to have George Cukor replaced with Victor Fleming because Gable felt that the filmmaker was paying too much attention to his co-star, Vivien Leigh. While shooting “Spartacus,” Kirk Douglas used his clout to have Anthony Mann replaced with Stanley Kubrick because he believe that his hand-picked substitute could better handle the film’s epic scope. And in “Waterworld” it was Kevin Costner, and not credited director Kevin Reynolds, who handled the film’s final cut after the two clashed on the notoriously troubled and costly production.

Chris Miller, Phil LordMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures Present the World Premiere of '22 Jump Street' Westwood Los Angeles, America.
Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

More recently, Steven Soderbergh left “Moneyball” due to his desire to shoot documentary-style, while Pixar parted ways with the the directors of several of its films, from “Ratatouille” to the “Brave” to “The Good Dinosaur,” over differing creative ideas about the animated offerings. In most cases, these movies survived their filmmaking shuffles to succeed financially and artistically, proving that a rocky path to the big screen does not necessarily foretell doom.

That’s to say nothing of the pictures whose financial backers probably wished in retrospect that they’d pulled the plug on a director. Costly overruns on “Heaven’s Gate,” Michael Cimino’s brooding Western epic, essentially bankrupted United Artists, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “Cleopatra” went so egregiously over budget that it brought Fox to the…

‘Star Wars’: Why the Han Solo Film Directors Were Fired

Ron Howard and Joe Johnston are possible contenders to replace Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Courtesy of Fox

Creative differences is a term that is often used loosely when a director is fired from a Hollywood movie.

But it actually appears to ring true in case of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who have been let go by Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy from directing the ‪Star Wars spinoff that centers on the fan-favorite character Han Solo.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the style and vision of Lord and Miller clashed with that of Lawrence Kasdan, the legendary screenwriter behind the classics Empire Strikes Back and ‪Raiders of the Lost Ark, who also wrote, with his son, Jon Kasdan, the script for the Han Solo stand-alone set (for now) to be released in 2018.

Lord and Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) have a comedic sensibility and improvisational style while Kasdan favors a strict adherence to the written word — what is on the page is what must be shot.

The creative clash, according to one insider, also came down to differences in understanding the character of Han Solo. “People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish,” said that source.

The friction was felt almost immediately when the movie began shooting in February, sources say, but the directors always thought it could be worked through. Kennedy, the producer and head of Lucasfilm, decided to back her lifelong colleague, who shaped much of Solo’s character in Empire and ‪Return of the Jedi and who had a specific tone in mind for the new movie. The duo also didn’t feel they had the support of producer Allison Shearmur, who was acting as Lucasfilm’s representative…

Carrie Fisher died from ‘sleep apnoea and other causes’

Carrie Fisher
The coroner also cited heart disease and drug use as factors in Carrie Fisher’s death

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnoea and “other factors”, the Los Angeles County coroner says.

Her death certificate said in January that the 60-year-old, best known for her role as Princess Leia, had suffered a cardiac arrest.

But in a statement the LA coroner said the exact cause was unknown.

Sleep apnoea is a common condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep, either for a few seconds or minutes.

As well as listing sleep apnoea as a cause of death, the coroner’s statement cited other factors, including heart disease and drug use.

In a statement released to People magazine after the coroner’s ruling, Fisher’s daughter Lourd said: “My mom battled drug…

Star Wars Battlefront II hands-on: Everyone can be a hero

Electronic Arts debuted gameplay for its much-anticipated Star Wars Battlefront II shooter at an event at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to play a couple of rounds of multiplayer in the Assault on Theed.

I really enjoyed it. In both rounds, I played as a battle droid on the planet Naboo, where our job was to escort a giant vehicle to the palace and take over the throne room. So, it was battle droids against clone troopers, fighting in the prequel trilogy era.

I was able to play a couple of rounds just by jumping into the game, with no instruction from anyone else. And in both matches, I was able to get more kills than deaths. In that way, it was refreshingly accessible. By contrast, when I went into the Battlefield 1 demo with a bunch of industry “influencers,” I got slaughtered.

Above: I’m carrying a heavy weapon.

Image Credit: EA

But in this match and map, I was able to get my bearings quickly. Our job as droids was to escort the big vehicle to the steps of the palace and make sure that it blasted its way in. It was a big map. I could choose from a regular assault rifle, a heavy weapon, or a light pistol (held by an officer). I chose the heavy weapon every time.

And it paid off. I was able to sneak off to the flanks of the big avenue and take on the clone troopers while they tried to take down the vehicle in a head-on assault. They often got the drop on me, as you can see in the videos. But over time, I got used to it…

Watch The Awesome New Multiplayer Gameplay Trailer For ‘Star Wars Battlefront 2’

Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Star Wars: Battlefront 2

EA’s press conference game me a feeling, something I haven’t felt in a long time. The feeling that yes, I was genuinely excited to see Naboo. Star Wars’ prequel trilogy may not be beloved by fans of the series or really anyone else, but there’s something transformative about seeing characters and settings reimagined in a video game. Naboo was the highlight in the first multiplayer gameplay trailer for Star Wars Battlefront 2, and it grabbed me in a way I couldn’t have quite expected. Watch below:

Star Wars: Battlefront was, on some level, a great game. It was the best recreation of the original trilogy I had ever seen in video game form, it was fast, it was…

Star Wars: Battlefront II will get free DLC after November 11 launch

Above: Star Wars: Battlefront II will bring the sequel trilogy into the action.

Star Wars: Battlefront II is one of the most anticipated games of the year. And Electronic Arts figured out how to the shooter even more special by announcing at a Hollywood event today that it will give free content to fans, even after the game launches. EA demoed the first look at multiplayer on stage during the live event.

It’s all part of EA’s strategy shift to providing “live operations” for fans, rather than just launching a game at a single point in time and then moving on to the next one. The free drops (for those who buy the game first) include content with a mix of locations, characters, and rewards. The idea is to “allow players to continue their Star Wars: Battlefront II hero’s journey in a world that is constantly growing.” EA made the announcement at its EA Play event at the Hollywood Palladium. EA’s event is the first ahead of the Tuesday opening of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) gaming trade show.

The first season’s inspiration is the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which debuts in December. Fans who preorder any edition of Battlefront II can get early access to the multiplayer beta this fall and an “Epic Yoda Bonus.”

Above: Janina Gavankar, the star of Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

Image Credit: EA

EA has several studios working the new Battlefront, including Motive, Criterion, and DICE (three of its most important design houses). That tells you how much EA is investing into the franchise.

“With Star Wars Battlefront II, we’ve really taken feedback from our players to heart, and you see that in the base game, which has so much more content than the first game – a new authentic single player campaign, epic multiplayer, starfighter battles, and solo or co-op PvE on console – a huge game across all eras of the Star Wars films,” said Matt Webster, the executive producer for Star Wars Battlefront II. “But just as important is how we support the game after launch. Our live service is built around the…

EA E3 2017: Every trailer and announcement

I hope you like Star Wars and BioWare games.

Electronic Arts just kicked off a big week for the gaming industry with its media presentation leading up to the Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow in Los Angeles. E3 is one of the most important gatherings of the game industry, and it focuses a great deal on the blockbuster (or triple-A) publishing and development business, the biggest games in the nearly $100 billion annual market. And if you missed any of the big announcements, we’ve gathered them all up for you.

Click the links or play on the videos below to get all the details:

EA is still holding many of…

We’ve Finally Seen A Campaign Mission From Star Wars: Battlefront II

EA Play’s press conference was packed with thirty minutes of Star Wars: Battlefront II multiplayer but lots of people wanted to see the campaign. We did. After that showcase ended, I sat down to watch a developer-guided runthrough of an early story mission. The 15 minute sequence was full of dogfights, stealth takedowns, and laser blasts. It seems good.

The previous Battlefront did not have a campaign. This one does. Just as 2005’s Battlefront II dropped players in the boots of Imperial stormtroopers, this latest version of the game focuses on the Empire. Players control Iden Versio, leader of an Imperial commando unit called Inferno Squadron. In the demo EA showed today, Iden was recalled to the planet Vardos following the destruction of the second Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi. She receives orders from her father, an Imperial admiral, to put her squad together for a new mission. A strange envoy of the Emperor relays the late leader’s last commands via a helmet that bears his likeness on a holo-screen: carry out Operation Cinder, a plan to disrupt the Rebels in case of the Emperor’s demise.

“In multiplayer, you get to play as the Empire, and you don’t think of the Rebels as the good guys when you’re in that role,” game director Mark Thompson said of the decision to focus on an Imperial character. “We wanted to try a different voice, so we weren’t just retelling the movies.”

Focusing on the Empire shows them struggling to fight back against the Rebels. As Iden prepares for Operation Cinder, the shipyard she is stationed at is attacked by an overwhelming Rebel force. The first portion of this level took place in the cockpit of a TIE Fighter and tasked…

EA Play at E3 2017: start time, live stream, and schedule

For Star Wars fans, Electronic Arts’ E3 press conference is the best place to get a glimpse at the future of the sprawling saga’s video game counterparts. At this year’s show, we can expect EA to show one new Star Wars title at the very least — Battlefront II, the sequel to 2015’s big reboot of the shooter franchise, is slated to come out later this year. There will of course be your standard sports updates, including a new FIFA game for the Switch. EA’s press conference kicks off at 3PM ET / 12PM PT on Saturday, June 10th.

But Star Wars takes center stage. You can be sure EA will have plenty of details and gameplay footage to show off for its next Battlefront. The game, due out on November 17th, will have a big focus on narrative with a new single-player…