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Why Do People Love Star Wars? Interview with Director Ron Howard

In just a few days, SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY opens in theaters everywhere and I’m excited for everyone to see the film. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I attended the movie premiere!
And I cannot tell you how honored I felt to be able to interview Academy Award®–winning filmmaker Ron Howard, who directed the film. Everyone knows Ron Howard because he’s created some of Hollywood’s most memorable films, like “Apollo 13” and “A Beautiful Mind,” for which he received the first annual Awareness Award from the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign.
Director Ron Howard is a self-avowed Star Wars fan whose friendship with George Lucas goes back to Lucas’ early film, 1973’s “American Graffiti,” told us that taking over as Director for SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY helped him see Star Wars in a new light:
What I did discover is that the reason these Star Wars movies resonate with us and we see them more than once, often, is because they entertain you in so many different ways. And I didn’t realize that as a fan. But when I was directing the scenes, I realized that’s a real challenge. You’ve got action elements. You’ve got sci-fi elements that are very particular to this galaxy, you’ve got this blend of humanity and humor and drama and then these deeper bigger …classic themes. And  it’s like playing three dimensional chess to direct these scenes. And I think when the harmonics are right, it creates this range of ways that the movies entertain you.
I recognized and respected the movies that came before me all the more when I realized how complicated it was. It was challenge but it was fun and fun to do. George Lucas had said to me “just trust your instincts.” I think you’re gonna find you’re comfortable in this film-making style. And he was right.
The film is amazing and I’m glad Ron Howard took over the film and re-shot most of it to create something that is so true to the original Star Wars look and feel.
He and Kathleen Kennedy just happened to be in London and scheduled a breakfast appointment.
 I didn’t know that there was any conflict, any creative differences going on with the project at all. I hadn’t heard any of those rumors. I guess that they were out there, but I just wasn’t paying attention. And at the breakfast she asked if Larry Kasdan could come. He’s in town. She didn’t tell me why. And when I got there, John Kasdan was there as well.

When Kathleen Kennedy and the Kasdans pitched SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY to Ron Howard, he wasn’t immediately on board. He actually said NO!

And he said, look, would you ever consider coming in and taking over? And I said, well, it’s very flattering but I can’t imagine that I would. I don’t think so. And I urged them to reconsider and think about it. And they said, well they already made their decision. They were gonna make a change.

Can you believe this awesomeness almost didn’t happen?

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 10: Actor Cheryl Howard (L) and director Ron Howard attend the world premiere of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” in Hollywood on May 10, 2018. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Cheryl Howard; Ron Howard

But it was in the stars, because Ron Howard loved the story of young Han Solo and the cast:

I read the script and I was so compelled by that script. It answered the questions of what a young Han Solo’s life experiences might be that would shape him, form him, push him toward that iconic figure that we would know later. And it did in ways that surprised me. And so it was really satisfying and logical. But it also had these twists and turns that were unexpected. In my mind, and I thought, well that’s a great jumping off place.

I knew what a fantastic cast it was. And over a period of about three days, I began to weigh it and at a certain point, my wife, Cheryl { and I } we were talking about it. And she said, “I know you pretty well and I think you’re gonna be disappointed if you don’t do this.” And I thought she was right, as she most always is.

I was really moved by this man, who is so gifted and accomplished telling us how everyone else is right and wonderful, and smart. I definitely admire someone with that level of humility.

I fell into it easily. I loved the cast. Really creative, cool, young, smart cast. And I loved working with the Kasdans – believed in their story!

And there was one thing about the young Han Solo story he wanted to make sure we knew: 

This story was hatched before Disney acquired Lucasfilm and came up with the business plan to do more Star Wars movies. It was a conversation that Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas had with Larry Kasdan, basically picking his brain and saying beyond the saga movies what else do you think would be interesting for fans and creatively exciting? And Larry and George just instantly felt and agreed that it was young Han Solo.
This has been a story that Larry’s been wanting to tell for a while and the studio wanted to initially commit to the saga movie, which they did. And, Larry kept saying “I really do believe in young Han Solo.” So that’s really how it happened, before there were any directors involved or anything. This story is the thing that I think everybody involved from the very beginning has wanted to give 110% to because it’s so ripe for the telling.
As exciting as it is, this new story represented a big task and a big challenge:
The responsibility of the cast, especially Alden Ehrenreich { was } such a daunting challenge. I knew that there would be a lot of judgement surrounding him and his performance. But he’s such a cool customer. And he wore the responsibility very well. I know it was something that really meant a lot to him.



And, of course, we chatted about what had just happened earlier that morning just a few rooms away from us.
I had talked to Harrison about a week ago. He had seen the movie and I had told Alden that, “Harrison really loved what you did. He respected it.” And, of course, couldn’t announce that to anybody because you can’t; no one speaks for Harrison Ford but Harrison Ford. And it was amazing today that he surprised us and showed up. And really surprised Alden.
It was such an epic moment and I feel it was a huge validation for the film in all fronts.
Han Solo - A Star Wars Story - Group Poster
On walking a fine line of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in creating a new younger version, as a master of his craft, Ron Howard was quite clear on how to achieve this purpose:

 It was all about taking inspiration from Harrison. I think Alden thought a little bit about the body {language} and that’s a  subtle almost subliminal link you can create for the characters. When I did,  for National Geographic, ” Genius: Einstein” and Geoffrey Rush was playing the older Albert Einstein and Johnny Flynn was playing the younger, one of the things that they did was they spent some time together to work out some physical traits and some body language choices that the younger Einstein could use that he would then reverberate and with the older Einstein. And thought that was a good idea for { SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY } Alden, of course, had already thought about it. But you also have Larry Kasdan who has written for the iconic Han Solo played by Harrison so many times. That phrasing, those rhythms, it was there for Alden to develop. And so it was not only right for the character but familiar for audiences.

 I love how he describes the film so we can get a sense of what it brings to the Star Wars galaxy and why people will continue to love Star Wars through this story:
This film is charged with youthful energy and cool. While it had to be true to the aesthetic and sensibility of Star Wars, we also wanted to push the envelope to make it work for young audiences, so it would feel more relatable than nostalgic. And yet, in a way, this is the first real character study in the galaxy so far for fans.
The story very much reflects the spirit of the original movies in the combination of playfulness, thematic focus, mixed with great action, and a universe that is fascinating, inviting, entertaining and a little bit thought-provoking.
I think true Star Wars fans will really appreciate this evolution, because they will be able to share their love for Star Wars with the younger people in their lives.
Sharing these adventures with our children in a way that is nostalgic for us but fresh and exciting for them, while discussing fantastic life lessons is not only a bonding experience, but a thrilling one.
This is a rite-of-passage story, consistent with Star Wars, with many themes that will resonate with audiences. It’s about one character’s journey, the way that he is tested by the unique challenges that he faces and by the people he meets, to become the character we know so well.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” offers viewers a chance to ride along on Han Solo’s roller-coaster journey of self-discovery, which director Ron Howard describes as “about a character defining himself and the relationships that will form him.
It utilizes Star Wars and the galaxy in really cool ways, but you don’t have to know anything about it. You don’t have to have seen another movie, read a comic book, seen a cartoon or played a video game. This is about Han discovering himself and the universe.

During the interview, I wanted to ask him so many questions, but I only had one  opportunity. I asked my friend’s question about how knowing Han Solo’s fate in The Force Awakens affected he directed SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.

I thought it was very powerful in that movie. And it also reflected the kind of complexity, the thematic ideas that I think give the Star Wars movies their lasting value. It’s fun. It’s playful. It’s exciting, but it also has these themes that, that are complicated and run deep. And in its own playful way, I think Solo asks some of those questions of “what’s it like in those more moral gray areas?”

And when your survival is at stake and you’re presented with choices that you might not necessarily be proud of -and it’s not just the Han Solo character, but a number of characters. This is a story about young people who are really on a quest for their freedom. And they’re struggling for that in very difficult oppressive times in a really challenging corner of the galaxy.

I think knowing the outcome gives the story of young Han Solo even more power and more weight. And I think in many ways makes you even more curious about what made, what might have made him tick, what makes him tick.

What an incredible moment. WOW. I’m getting chills again.

My loves, remember that SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY opens in theaters everywhere on May 25th, which is THIS WEEK! Saying that Ron Howard did an amazing job is kind of a “duh” moment, but I have to say it anyway!

You can follow the latest updates by visiting the official SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY site, following STAR WARS on Instagram, following STAR WARS on Twitterand liking STAR WARS on Facebook. Make sure you follow the conversation along with #HanSolo and #HanSoloEvent.

Elayna is a homeschool educator, single mom of 4, founder of the Positive MOM Community, award-winning Storyteller, Story Strategist, and Student of Pain. She’s a bestselling author, internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, and 3x TEDx speaker. To receive a gift from Elayna, click HERE.

Be Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna FernandBe Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOMez ~ The Positive MOM
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SOLO: A Star Wars Story - Digital Movie Code Giveaway #HanSolo #StarWars #HanSoloEvent ★ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM ♥

Tuesday 2nd of October 2018

[…] Bettany (Dryden), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (L3-37), as well as Academy Award®–winning filmmaker Director Ron Howard! And there are LOTS OF PHOTOS to enjoy, […]

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Tuesday 2nd of October 2018

[…] (Woody Harrelson), super villain (Paul Bettany), as well as Academy Award®–winning filmmaker Director Ron Howard! I didn’t get to interview Danny Glover, so that’s still on my wishlist, but I did […]

Alison Rost

Saturday 26th of May 2018

He's always been an amazing director and his films have really made an impact to many. I love that he chooses to tell a story that people can relate to. This was an awesome interview!

Karlyn Cruz

Thursday 24th of May 2018

I think the only Star Wars I ever truly liked was the Return of the Jedi but this is so interesting to know. Glad you told us the inside scoop! And what an amazing experience to have been around Ron Howard!


Wednesday 23rd of May 2018

I not a big fans of Star Wars but I love to watch it. The new movie, Solo looks attractive. I am going to watch this.