Last night’s bombshell about Lord & Miller’s firing from the Han Solo film is still making waves. Because this is the internet, and because nobody asked, here are some scattered bullet point thoughts on the unfolding drama:

  • What conversations took place when Lord and Miller were hired? What were they told about how much of their vision was actually wanted? Did Kennedy and Lucasfilm even know how “meddlesome” they’d eventually be? Remember, Lord and Miller were hired in early July of 2015 – a full year before the drama of Rogue One’s making came to light. Maybe neither party had reason to think that creating a standalone would come to this?
  • But it has come to this. Why? Who’s to blame? Personally I don’t think it reflects very well on Lucasfilm and Kennedy at the moment. If the Han Solo movie still turns out to be a hit, all will be forgiven, and Kennedy will have even more faith (and power) than she already does. Let’s not forget that this is one of the most accomplished people in the movie business. Her moves may not be popular, but she’s entirely capable of rolling up her sleeves and getting dirty.
  • Apparently this happened because Kasdan wrote one thing, and Lord & Miller decided to put their own spin on what he wrote. In a Variety article outlining the drama, it says “People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish,” This makes it sound like Kasdan wrote one version, while the other was being captured on film. Here’s the news, folks: if you don’t do what your bosses ask of you, you will be fired. The boss may be wrong. Stubborn. Shortsighted. Weak. Afraid, even. But they are the boss, and removing insubordinates is their prerogative. And if they think multi-million-dollar projects are in jeopardy of going sideways, it’s their responsibility to act, even if chaos ensues.
  • I respect both sides of this; for Kennedy’s firm hand in knowing how to bring a Star Wars movie to life, and making a bold call now that may border on unprofessional. But she’s siding with the person who knows Han Solo better than anyone not named George Lucas. How is that a bad thing?
  • Rogue One’s reshoots had to be a jarring experience for all, and Gareth Edwards’ decision to be part of the solution is a commendable one. On the flip side, Lord and Miller decided that their integrity as artists was important, and forced Kennedy’s hand. I respect that they stood up for themselves, and their vision. It’s a shame we won’t get to see their film on screen because everything they’ve ever done has been really entertaining. But both Lord and Miller will land on their feet. They’ve been doing this long enough that they’re not going to be out of work for very long. This isn’t a case of putting a family out on the street due to joblessness.
  • As for allegations that the set was a very polarizing place, and that the co-directors were prone to going off-script? I have no idea if that’s true or not. Quotes and soundbites from the cast made it sound like a positive place to be, so who really knows? But I’ll refer to an earlier point: don’t alienate your bosses. Bad move.
  • I wonder if this drama is part of the reason why Lucasfilm has taken SO long to announce the next standalone? Obviously there is a lot of friction when it comes to making non-saga movies. Lucasfilm wants a Star Wars movie to be a Star Wars movie, and with good reason. We pretend to be open, forgiving fans. There’s no shortage of people saying they want different voices and different looks to the galaxy far, far away, but Lucasfilm evidently doesn’t believe that. I personally don’t believe that, either. The prequels were proof positive of that. Hardcore fans will crucify the powers that be if they bungle a movie, even once. Kennedy and Lucasfilm is using all powers within their right to avoid making a bad movie. It’s messy, but I’ll never accuse them of being careless.
  • This is a gutsy call from Kennedy, and Lucasfilm. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right call. But whatever Han Solo turns out to be, had better be really, really good. What we had seen from Lord and Miller’s version had taken skeptics by surprise and gotten them excited. Version 2.0 better live up to this gong show. If Han Solo makes a billion dollars, all is forgiven. That will mean Star Wars fans across the world loved it, and it will probably mean critics loved it too.
  • One thing’s for sure: critics are going to scrutinize this movie much harder now. Lord and Miller are a respected duo, so replacing them now had better result in a movie worthy of critical praise.
  • While this is grounds for serious concern, the good news is that the movie is still happening, and it looks like Kasdan himself, Ron Howard, or Joe Johnston will come to the rescue. That’s not a bad thing. It’s also projected to be on time, unless someone decides that what Lord and Miller have filmed is unuseable.
  • This dramatic chapter in Star Wars history illustrates with great zeal that creatives don’t quite have the autonomy that they’d all have us believe. Star Wars movies have to be made like a Star Wars movie, and have to feel like a Star Wars movie. When it comes to the standalones, Lucasfilm is still clearly uncomfortable with the process, and are being heavy handed in securing their vision. What does this mean for future standalones? More diverse voices? Or reverting to names and faces that they already know? (i.e. the old boys club is now on speed dial?)
  • In the end, this sucks. But Lucasfilm is 2-for-2 in the Disney ownership era. Until they produce crap, they get the benefit of the doubt, right?

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know via any of these places:  @tumblingsaberFacebook | email

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