‘Star Wars’ Firing Reveals a Disturbance in the Franchise – Hollywood Reporter

Matters had already reached a boiling point in mid-June when Phil Lord and Chris Miller, co-directors of the still-untitled young Han Solo movie, were in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon but didn’t start shooting until 1 p.m. That day the two used only three different setups — that is, three variations on camera placement — as opposed to the 12 to 15 that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had expected, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Not only was the going slow, but the few angles that had been shot did not provide a wealth of options to use in editing the movie.

This was hardly the first time Kennedy was unhappy with how the film was progressing. And as he looked at dailies from his home in Los Angeles, Lawrence Kasdan — screenwriter, executive producer and keeper of the Stars Wars flame — also was said to be displeased.

Meanwhile, Lord and Miller, the exceptionally successful team behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, were chafing, too, according to a source close to them. There were “deep fundamental philosophical differences” in filmmaking styles, this person says, and the directors felt they were being given “zero creative freedom.” They also felt they were being asked to operate under “extreme scheduling constraints” and “were never given enough days for each scene from the very beginning.”

Shortly after the shoot in the Millennium Falcon, on June 20, the world learned that Kennedy — with the backing of Disney studio chief Alan Horn — had taken the extraordinary step of firing Lord and Miller. Obviously, Kennedy knew this would set off a storm of publicity that no one wants or needs in any movie — especially one in the Star Wars universe, where every move is closely watched by a gigantic audience with a sense of ownership. It’s rare and undesirable enough to fire any director. Firing established players like Lord and Miller, who have a fan base ready to give them the benefit of any doubt? That shocked Hollywood’s most seasoned veterans.

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