The Han Solo standalone movie has found a new pilot in director Ron Howard.

The Han Solo standalone movie has found a new pilot: Lucasfilm named veteran filmmaker Ron Howard as the director of the Star Wars spinoff.

The announcement came just two days after the original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, were fired over “creative differences”. This followed weeks of clashes with senior custodians of the franchise, including screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, over the shooting style and the tone.

Here’s Kennedy’s statement on Howard’s appointment:

“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago. With that in mind, we are thrilled to annouce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew and the absolute commitment to make a great movie.”

Han Solo movie
Trouble in Millennium Falcon. Original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from the project weeks into filming. Photo: Disney/Lucas Films; Jonathan Olley

It’s unsurprising that, after the kerfuffle on set, Lucasfilm would run in the opposite direction and bank their hopes on a safe choice like Howard. Lord and Miller were brought on board for their fresh and offbeat sensibilities but it all turned out to be too unorthodox for the studio.

Even though Howard’s most recent directorial efforts like Inferno and In the Heart of the Sea underperformed at the box office, he is tried and tested with a pretty impressive track record of classics like Cocoon, Backdraft and A Beautiful Mind. He also won a Best Directing Oscar for Apollo 13 in 1996.

Moreover, Howard has deep ties to George Lucas and the world of Lucasfilm. He appeared in Lucas’s debut film American Graffiti way back in 1973, and directed 1988 fantasy film Willow, which was written by Lucas.

Howard took to Twitter to make his first public statement since his hire:

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Howard will meet the cast – which includes Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo, Donald Glover as young Lando Calrissian, Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke – to soothe a “rattled set” and review a rough edit to determine what the project needs. Filming will resume on July 10.

What do you think, geeks? Can Ron Howard save the Han Solo film?