The fact that we’ll never see a Phil Lord and Chris Miller Han Solo movie is still hard to swallow. Whether you like the Ron Howard film or not, fans will forever imagine what the directors of 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie would have done with that script.
And yet, there’s a trade-off. Lord and Miller produced both Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, with Lord co-writing Spider-Verse and the pair writing all of The LEGO Movie 2. Both of those movies were in production at the same time as Solo, so it’s safe to assume that if the pair completed Solo, neither of those movies would be exactly what they are.
But, at the junket for The LEGO Movie 2, we asked Lord and Miller how their leaving Solo helped improve the two animated features, one of which is now the odds-on-favourite to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
“Obviously we were able to spend a lot of time on these movies and it’s, I think, our good luck that we got to spend so much time making movies we care about,” Lord told us this week.
Added Miller, “And, you know, we were really passionate about both of these films and it was a real opportunity for us to be able to really dig in on both of them and be really involved in every aspect of the production.”
But what does that mean exactly? LEGO Movie 2 director Mike Mitchell explained.
“The storytelling got more efficient,” Mitchell told us when asked how LEGO 2 got better once Lord and Miller left Solo. “This is really a complicated story to tell... so when they came back into town I felt like I had a couple more people to bounce story stuff off of. Not to mention those guys are hilarious so the film got funnier. Those guys can’t help but add weird gags everywhere.”
The pair agreed that the increased collaboration was the main benefit of the whole thing.
“One of the pleasures is that you get to collaborate with filmmakers that we hired because they inspire us,” Lord said. “We got to spend time collaborating together and enriching one another’s creativity.”
Miller added, “And both films have collaboration at the heart of them. It’s an important thing to us. So it couldn’t be more fitting.”
In the end, that’s the silver lining. No, we’ll never see what Solo: A Star Wars Story directed by Lord and Miller would have been. But, in its place, we have the best possible versions of two other movies. It isn’t ideal, but it isn’t bad either.
We’ll have more from Lord, Miller, Mitchell and The LEGO Movie 2 soon. The film opens March 21.