While Star Wars Solo is not a bad film, in terms of box office, it is considered one of the weakest films in the Star Wars franchise. After a troubled production, the film massively underperformed and derailed a number of other planned projects, including the Obi-Wan Kenobi film which has since been rethought as the next Ewan McGregor TV series. In a new interview, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller explained how their desire to ensure that Solo was not just a fan service film ultimately led to them being replaced by Ron Howard on the project.
Although Solo was generally well received by critics, fans did not turn out in the volume expected when the film arrived in cinemas on 25 May and this made the film a financial flop due to the increased budget cost of reshoots. At the time, the change in directors was attributed to creative differences, and it seems that these came down to LucasFilm wanting to release a regular sci-fi action film with comedic moments as opposed to the vision Lord and Miller had in mind for a “riskier” version of the Star Wars icon. Speaking to The Playlist, the pair explained:
Phil Lord: “If you give the audience exactly what they expect and a bunch of ‘just fanservice’, they’re going to end up disappointed, they’re going to say, ‘Yeah, this is stuff I’ve seen before. The trick is to understand what they don’t quite realise they want yet and every idea you add into the stew is something that you go, “Oh, that would be a good thing to see that I’ve seen before and it’s not what you expect because I think people are really savvy now and so you have to stay ahead of them and I feel like that’s our job.
Chris Miller: “You can’t play with fear. So I don’t really understand the fear of a fan base. We don’t think of it that way. There are people, I guess, who try to play the market and follow a formula. They try to serve the quarterly revenue of a big company, but a company doesn’t make a movie or write a song, those things are made by human beings and we always try to serve the human beings who make the movie and the human beings who attend the movie, always remember what you put out there, that’s only half of it.
The other half is that there is a person in a cinema and you put sound and light on their face and they are making the film in their brain. So you have to understand that as a relationship and a conversation, put yourself in that person’s shoes.