Ron Howard sat down with Fandango to talk about his first foray into the galaxy far, far away with Solo: A Star Wars Story. A few select excerpts can be found below, covering what it was like coming into the project and the possibility of more Solo films. You can read the entire interview here. There aren’t any explicit spoilers — Howard is careful not to divulge too much — but there are character motivations and discussion that could be considered spoiler territory to some, so keep that in mind before reading the entire interview found at the link.
Fandango: What does it mean to you personally to make this movie? I know you go way back with George Lucas. In terms of all the films you’ve directed, what does this one mean to you?
Ron Howard: Well, it evolved for me because of the unique circumstances under which I came in to it. It began, really, as a movie-making challenge and kind of a test that I was interested in engaging in. I’ve known so many of the people, including the late Allie Shearmur and Kathy Kennedy and Larry Kasdan and, of course, George Lucas, for years and was happy to come in and work for them and with them.
Fandango: They released a featurette on the movie recently, and in it you say that this is “unlike any other Star Wars movie.” I’m curious to hear you elaborate on that, how so?
Ron Howard: It’s set in a different time. As I said in the featurette, the Empire rules everything at this point, and it’s a time of total oppression. Of course, this is largely the story of this renegade, young guy, seeking freedom, trying to escape all oppression. This is a defining adventure for a young guy with a lot of swagger.
Fandango: There were reports that came out recently saying that Alden [Ehrenreich] signed on for three movies as Han Solo. Does this film sort of set up the possibility of further adventures down the line?
Ron Howard: I think the fans are going to define all of that. I mean I think that Lucasfilm and Disney in casting actors, and particularly younger actors, want to see what happens and build upon that. Certainly, they want the commitment from the young actors, but there are no concrete plans. I think there’s been a lot of creative energy and now marketing energy going behind this movie.
I think these are exactly what they’re meant to be, or what they’re designed to be. They’re single movies exploring the galaxy; but of course, as a company, I think they’re going to be very interested to see how people respond to it and take it from there. This whole thing is kind of a cool, ambitious exploration of what the galaxy and the Star Wars sensibility can continue to mean to fans.
Fandango: At what point did you realize, “Wow! I’m actually directing a Star Wars movie?”
Ron Howard: It didn’t take long because the first sequence that I came in to was a very large action-packed escape sequence. Once the lasers start going off and you’re looking around and seeing droids and Wookiees, you realize you’re in the middle of the galaxy and you’re making a Star Wars movie.
What I realized, as I threw myself into the project, was how unique and interesting the blend of entertainment values of these movies was. It is both challenging and a lot of fun to stage these scenes that deal with themes that are universal and relatable but deals with them in fun, surprising ways. The action is intense and has to be cutting edge, but it’s in support of those thematics and the fun that you can have watching the adventure unfold. Then there’s the genuine emotion and drama along with the humor. This combination of storytelling values and entertainment possibilities is both fun and it’s very infectious. You feel it with the crew. You feel it with everybody involved. You do find ways … I think it’s kind of why we love watch these movies … you connect to these storylines. You connect to these ideas.
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