Woody Harrelson Assures Fans That the 'Han Solo' Movie Will Still Be Funny

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 - 10:38AM
Star Wars
Star Wars: Han Solo
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 - 10:38AM
Woody Harrelson Assures Fans That the 'Han Solo' Movie Will Still Be Funny
Image credit: Lucasfilm
By and large, the message that Star Wars fans received from the firing of former directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the set of Han Solo was that the movie was taking the wrong direction. Rumors have suggested that by attempting to improv large chunks of the movie, the directors, best known for 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, were turning the entire project into a wacky comedy, rather than keeping things to the more serious tone that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan had been expecting. Ron Howard, it's widely believed, was then brought on to make the whole thing a lot more respectable and to strip away the overly silly tint that Miller and Lord had put on the film up to that point.

According to Woody Harrelson, though, things aren't quite that black and white—it's not a case of comedy versus gravitas, as the finished film is going to still be pretty hilarious when all is said and done. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Harrelson praised the performance of Alden Ehrenreich, who plays young Han Solo:

Opening quote
"He's a great actor and a great guy, [with a] great sense of humor. I think a lot of humor comes through what he's doing. I think it could be one of the funnier Star Wars movies."
Closing quote


This is an interesting quote for several reasons. Firstly, rumors surrounding the removal of Miller and Lord had suggested that Ehrenreich had been influential in tipping Kathleen Kennedy off to the fact that the directors were going so far off-script—some have claimed that Ehrenreich lacks improvisational skills, and felt like he was being upstaged by the quicker-witted Donald Glover. This has always sounded a bit suspicious as far as rumors go, not least because it sounds so similar to the plot of Hail Caeser! and the role that Ehrenreich plays in that film.

Lucasfilm originally hired Chris Miller and Phil Lord for a reason—the studio was clearly looking for a comedic movie, so to boil down their removal to a matter of a joyless studio pushing back against a comedic movie is simplistic at best. It's probably more likely that Lord and Miller were removed because their specific directorial style didn't fit what Kathleen Kennedy had in mind. As for the timing of their removal, Screen Rant has noted that guild and union laws surrounding creative control of a project require a director to shoot at least 90% of a film in order for them to receive the final say of what happens during the edit. As Miller and Lord were let go when the film was around 85% complete, it's probable that Lucasfilm were eager to ensure that they had control over post-production.

That said, just because Han Solo will feature humor, it doesn't mean that the movie will be ultimately light and fluffy in tone. Arguably the funniest Star Wars movie up to this point (depending on how much you like C-3PO's puns in Attack of the Clones) is The Empire Strikes Back, which, as has been noted, comes sprinkled with Harrison Ford improv. The movie's banter, jokes, and occasional practical humor perfectly compliment the darker tone of the entire film, as when things get bleak, it feels all the more crushing to the Rebels to see the jokester, Han, subjected to torture and experimental carbonite freezing (spoiler alert for a movie that's older than Taylor Swift).



At the end of the day, we're crossing our fingers for a movie that makes us care more about Han Solo, rather than one that we all laugh our way through without being challenged much. He's so much more than a scruffy nerf herder.
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