Why We’re Excited Ron Howard Is Directing the Han Solo ‘Star Wars’ Movie

The last few years, fans of the Star Wars films have been lucky enough to always have a new offering (or two) right around the corner. Currently, we’re gathering all of the information we can on the highly anticipated Solo: A Star Wars Movie, coming in 2018. But in June 2017, the production experienced a major upheaval when directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left the project with only a few weeks of filming remaining.

For a few days, rumors buzzed about who would pick up the slack, before accomplished director Ron Howard was chosen to fill the void. While there are critics who believe the quality of his work has taken a dip in the last few years, there are at least seven reasons to believe he’ll do a great job.

He’s a long-time fan of the franchise

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: A New Hope | 20th Century Fox

Getting to work on a project of this magnitude would be an amazing opportunity for any director, but for someone who has been a fan of the franchise since the very beginning, it’s extra special. Howard told Variety that he saw the original film twice on its opening night in 1977.

“I was so moved by the movie,” he said. “I was transported by the movie … We literally left almost speechless.”

He’s been in the business for most of his life

Opie sitting at the table with food in front of him and his fork in his hand smirking

Ron Howard as Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. | CBS

If anyone knows Hollywood, it’s Howard. The son of actors Rance and Jean Speegle Howard, he began acting early, first gaining recognition as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. Howard later became well known for his role as Richie Cunningham on Happy Days.

Though he’s continued to act here and there (primarily in his own projects), Howard shifted to directing in his 20s. Among his most popular films are Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and The Da Vinci Code trilogy. Additionally, Howard has many producer credits.

He has worked with George Lucas

Ron Howard and George Lucas posing together

Ron Howard and George Lucas | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

According to Variety, Howard was in-the-know about Star Wars before it came to fruition. While working on American Graffiti, director George Lucas confided in the star about a new project he was working on, which turned out to be Star Wars: A New Hope.

Howard has also shown Lucas what he can do behind the scenes. The 1988 film Willow was directed by Howard and written by Lucas. The film is a collaboration of their two production companies, Lucasfilm and Howard’s own Imagine Entertainment.

He’s an Academy Award-winning director

Ron Howard holds his Oscars and poses

Ron Howard | Lee Celano/AFP/Getty Images

As previously stated, many of Howard’s films are acclaimed. And he’s even received award recognition for some of them.

A Beautiful Mind was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, both of which it won. Then, in 2008, Frost/Nixon was up for the same two categories but lost out to Slumdog Millionaire.

He has pulled off both comedic and serious work

Jason Bateman and Ron Howard inside a model spacecraft

Jason Bateman and Ron Howard on Arrested Development | Netflix

While the Star Wars films are very much sci-fi thrillers, there has always been a bit of humor thrown in the mix, especially as far as Han Solo is concerned. So any director handling the character’s origin story would need to be adept at straddling genres.

Lord and Miller were excellent choices on the comedy front, but they have essentially no experience when it comes to anything akin to a space Western. Howard, on the other hand, has produced several similar projects, and has directed both dramas and comedies. Though he leans a little toward the former, anyone who has witnessed him mocking himself on Arrested Development (both on screen and as the narrator) can attest to his comedic chops.

He isn’t afraid to try new things

Ron Howard wearing a hat, with his hands up along his collar

Ron Howard | Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Branching out can be a difficult thing to do, but many of the best directors like to test themselves in order to see what they can accomplish. Howard is among those who enjoy tackling various subjects and genres, and he has succeeded in an array of areas.

For example, Howard’s acting fame came from sitcoms, but his comedic choices have been quite different, including the rom-com Splash and children’s book-turned-feature film, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In recent years, he has even directed a couple of music documentaries: Made in America (featuring Jay Z’s festival of the same name) and The Beatles: Eight Days a Week.

He’s having fun, while respecting what came before him

An image of shoes, water bottles, and film equipment from above with the text "Cool scene today but I'm afraid this is the most revealing image I dare share from my 1st day on the set of the Untitled Han Solo movie" from @RealRonHoward

A tweet from Ron Howard. | Ron Howard via Twitter

Howard was tasked with getting production back on track almost immediately, and it seems that he’s doing just that. But all of the hype and speculation surrounding the project must make things a bit stressful, so it’s good to see that he’s making light of the situation, trolling fans on Twitter.

That doesn’t mean he’s not taking the job seriously, though. Howard told Variety, “So many people involved in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise are friends. It’s already been in production, and there’s a lot of really great work there.”