Richie Cunningham Takes Over As New Director To Save Struggling Han Solo Bio-Pic

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The latest installments of the Star Wars franchise have all had some rough waters to navigate during production. They have unlimited budgets, and fans with high expectations. So why shouldn’t they be absolutely perfect? Well the new Han Solo pic is one step closer to perfection, some feel, as Ron Howard has taken over the project.

The original directors of the film, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, stepped down Wednesday.

Lucasfilm announced their departure Thursday.

“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy wrote in a statement. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie.”

After a short delay to get Howard and his team up to speed, filming will begin again on July 10, she said.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller stepped down after they ran into issues with Lucasfilm that they could not resolve.

“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project,” the pair explained in a statement Tuesday night. “We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this clich√© is true.”

Changes horses mid-stream is rare. The film is slated for a May 25, 2018 release. But Howard has one of the deepest Hollywood resumes around. He began his career as a highly acclaimed child actor in film and television, and has moved into direction and production.

Howard even stared in American Graffiti, the first big studio film directed by George Lucas. That film, which was released four years before Star Wars: A New Hope launched Harrison Ford’s career, too.

There’s no word yet on how Howard’s direction will change the feel of the film, or if he has any insight into the resolution of the creative differences that troubled the last directorial pairing.