Solo: A Star Wars Story screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who also penned episodic installments The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, says studio Disney “blew it” with the release of the young Han Solo prequel movie. Once set to be helmed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directing duo were fired months into filming by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, citing “creative differences.” The reins were then passed to veteran filmmaker Ron Howard, who reportedly filmed 70% of the final product. Solo went on to gross $393 million worldwide, the lowest box office of any live-action Star Wars film.
Speaking at the Austin Film Festival, where Kasdan was promoting directorial effort November Road, Kasdan recounted his response when Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy approached him with an offer to board new Star Wars films just before creator George Lucas sold the company to Disney: “It’s been very good to me, but I don’t want to do it anymore,” Kasdan said, according to SYFY Wire.
Kasdan met with Lucas, who was developing a project starring Kasdan’s favorite character, Han Solo. Agreeing to that project meant he was tapped for The Force Awakens, the seventh episode in the Skywalker Saga.
Though not planned, Kasdan said it was a “very good experience.” He then agreed to script Solo if he could partner with son Jonathan.
“Then the studio blew it,” Kasdan said, “but that’s not unusual.”
Kasdan also admitted to a lack of interest in Star Wars, preferring instead to focus on directing. Eventually credited on The Force Awakens as co-writer alongside original screenwriter Michael Arndt and director J.J. Abrams, Kasdan initially resisted the studio’s efforts to hand-deliver its script via messenger.
“I never saw this poor messenger they sent,” he admitted. “I said, ‘I can’t take it.’ I didn’t want to sit down and read someone else’s Star Wars movie. I’m just not interested in Star Wars.”
He said later, “Don’t think for a second I don’t know how lucky I am that they’re sending a Star Wars script to my door and I can say, ‘No, I won’t accept it.’ You have to be in a very privileged situation to do that, and I don’t ever take that for granted.”
Just months after Solo opened in May 2018, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger admitted there would be a Star Wars slowdown.2comments
“I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna make films,” Iger told The Hollywood Reporter in September of that year. “J.J. is busy making [Episode] IX. We have creative entities, including [David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven’t been specific about. And we are just at the point where we’re gonna start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re gonna be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.”
In April, Iger said again there would be a “bit of a hiatus” on Star Wars films following Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The ninth and final episode of the Skywalker Saga opens December 20.