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How Much Of Solo: A Star Wars Story Did Ron Howard Rewrite After He Took The Reigns?

The practice of changing the directors on blockbuster films is as old as Hollywood itself. From Victor Fleming replacing both George Cukor in "Gone with the Wind" and Richard Thorpe in "The Wizard of Oz" in 1939, to Joseph L. Mankiewicz taking over from Rouben Mamoulian during the troubled shoot of 1963's "Cleopatra," to recent superhero film switcheroos like Edgar Wright for Peyton Reed in "Ant-Man" and Michelle MacLaren for Patty Jenkins in "Wonder Woman," when a massive production needs a new helmer for one reason or another, studios are not afraid to bite the bullet. Which isn't to say that a director switch doesn't come with certain consequences — like the public confirmation that a certain project might (probably) be facing major woes.

In the case of "Solo: A Star Wars Story," the firing of original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller provided plenty of fodder for concern among "Star Wars" fans, whether over the haphazard state of the shoot or the controversial journeyman style of substitute Ron Howard, long before the public had laid eyes on any footage. But, when the film actually came out, its tepid critical and fan reception — and disappointing box office – rendered Lucasfilm's decision to replace Lord and Miller even more controversial, particularly when the duo's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" became a smashing success later that year.

To this day, fans continue to debate how much of the messy, underwhelming final version of "Solo" was really Howard's fault. To that end, a common question that pops up is this — how much of the film did he rewrite after he took over?

Ron Howard did not touch the Solo script after boarding the film

In addition to being a veteran director with a 45-year career and 31 feature film credits to his name, Ron Howard is also a writer. He co-wrote the screenplays for his first two films, 1977's "Grand Theft Auto" (no, not related to the video game franchise) and 1978's "Cotton Candy," and also had story credits in 1989's "Parenthood" and 1992's "Far and Away." But, despite evidently knowing the ropes of writing when a project calls for it, Howard did not take on any official writing duties in "Solo: A Star Wars Story." In fact, despite their cred as wildly inventive scribes, neither did Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. From the get-go, "Solo" had a screenplay written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathan Kasdan (via StarWars.com), and those were the only two credited writers in the finished film.

While it is not uncommon for directors to contribute to a film's script without necessarily being credited as writers, all would seem to indicate that Howard really did stick to directing in the case of "Solo." In March 2018, a couple months before the film premiered, Vulture ran an interview with an anonymous actor who dished about the film's production turbulence, and one of his claims was that the reshoots overseen by Howard were not deviating from the original script at all. 

"It's exactly the same script. They're filming exactly the same things. There's nothing new," the anonymous source said.