Even lapsed Star Wars fans have to admit that it's getting increasingly difficult to stay cynical about what's happening with the franchise these days. JJ Abrams' Episode VII trailer was undeniably great. Gareth Edwards was hired to spearhead the Star Wars Anthology series with the awesome-sounding Rogue One. And now this is happening: Chris Miller and Phil Lord - the duo behind The Lego Movie, the 21 Jump Street franchise, and FOX's Last Man On Earth - are directing the Star Wars Anthology's Han Solo spin-off movie.
This is amazingly good news!
Heretofore, the "Han Solo spin-off" movie has been the source of much eyerolling among Star Wars naysayers. The very idea of it seems unworkable and unnecessary. But time and again, Miller and Lord have proven themselves to be the go-to guys for projects that sound unworkable and unnecessary (see also: everyone's reaction upon learning that Lego blocks were getting their own movie, or that 21 Jump Street was going to be a thing). If anyone's going to make this work, it's these guys, who have earned our trust several times over now. Jury's out on the casting of a young Han Solo, of course, but...this is an enormous step in the right direction.
Another step in the right direction: according to StarWars.com, Lawrence Kasdan (who, you'll recall, wrote Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, and co-wrote the upcoming The Force Awakens) and his son, Jon, are scripting the film. Here's what they're saying about the project:
“We’re so excited to be working with Chris and Phil, who will bring a fresh new dimension to the Star Wars universe,” said the Kasdans. “They’re two of the smartest, funniest and most original filmmakers around, and the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy.”
And here's what Lord and Miller have to say for themselves:
“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”
If there's any bad news to be found here, it's that this project likely removes Miller and Lord from the Flash project they were developing with Warner Bros. That was a strong pairing, and one we were all looking forward to. But quite frankly, I'm infinitely more excited by this pairing. Can't wait to see where this leads.