Conflict Between Alden and Ron Howard?

SC Reviews has an interesting perspective on the recent Esquire interview with Alden Ehrenreich:

From Esquire:

Of Lord and Miller, Ehrenreich says, “They had a different style than Ron in terms of the way we were working.” He’s not sure what their Solo would have been like. He liked the script. He liked them as directors. He can’t say whether they were really taking an Apatovian riffs-over-script approach. “From the first screen test on, we played around with it a lot. We tried a lot of different things, rethinking behind the scenes,” he says. “That was yielding a different movie than the other factions wanted. I knew what I was doing, but in terms of what that adds up to, you’re so in the dark as an actor. You don’t know what it’s shaping up to be, how they’re editing it, so it’s kind of impossible without having seen those things to know what the difference [of opinion] was, or exactly what created those differences.”

He wasn’t told that Lord and Miller were being replaced until it happened, he says. The directors themselves told him almost immediately. “They said, ‘We were let go,’ and that’s it. They had mentioned there were some disagreements before, but they didn’t get into it. They wished me the best with the rest of the movie. On a personal level, it felt emotional, for them to be going after we’d set out on that course together. Because I spent a lot of time with them, and we had a really good relationship—they also cast me. But I think at that point, they were kind of on board with [the decision], too. Like, ‘This is what’s happening.’ That’s not what they said to me, but that was the vibe I got.”

Ehrenreich says the fan-press rumor that it was he who approached Kennedy with concerns about Lord and Miller is “not at all” true, that he couldn’t imagine ever making a call like that “unless people were being put in danger or something.”

He also insists that the story about Lucasfilm forcing Lord and Miller to bring in an acting coach—later identified as writer- director Maggie Kiley—to work on his performance has been mischaracterized: “She was part of conversations that happened for a couple weeks at one point,” Ehrenreich says, “but that was basically it.” (Lord and Miller say that Kiley is someone they’d worked with on previous films and that they brought her on Solo as a resource for the entire cast as well as themselves.) As for the various stories about the Solo crew breaking into spontaneous applause upon hearing of Howard’s appointment or (depending on which account you read) Lord and Miller’s firing?

“That’s bullshit,” Ehrenreich says. “For a crew to do that would mean they hated [Lord and Miller], which was not by any stretch the case.”

The production went dark for almost three weeks between Lord and Miller’s sacking and Howard’s arrival. “It was this period of going, What if they get somebody that you don’t get along with? What if they get somebody that has a totally different vision?” Ehrenreich admits. But he adds that Howard won over the cast and crew quickly.

“Everybody’s hackles are raised a bit, and Ron had this ability to come in and deal with morale and get everybody enthusiastic about, A, what we’d already shot, because I think his feeling was that a lot of what we’d already done was really good, and, B, the direction for the next piece of it. He knew how to navigate a tricky situation, and almost from the first or second day everybody pretty quickly recharged and got excited again about the movie.” (Lord and Miller ended up with executive-producer credits on the film. Everyone involved is cagey about how much of their material ended up in the final cut.)

It’s interesting that these sentiments towards Lord & Miller, are similar to sentiments expressed previously be fellow cast members who also worked under the duo on this film.

“Obviously, it was a surprise. I love Phil and Chris — everybody loves Phil and Chris — they’re so brilliant.” -Thandie Newton

“I will tell you this much though,” Williams adds. “What saddens me most is I was very proud of the work that I did. What I believe I have created with Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson and Alden [Ehrenreich, who plays Solo]… I thought it was some great work. We was on the spaceship, and we all had these amazing scenes together, and I thought it was a great opportunity, and I thought it was some great stuff. It’s unfortunate the world won’t get to see it.” – Michael K. Williams

People who worked with Lord & Miller on this film, seem to have good things to say about their experiences.

han-solo-thandie-newton-ron-howard-set-image-820x490

I can’t find any pics of Howard with his arm around Alden…

Ethan Van Sciver, puts forth the theory that Alden Eherenreich also has a bit of a beef with Ron Howard, and that it was Ron Howard himself who leaked rumors that Alden couldn’t act.  Ethan also suggests that the reason that Alden let it slip that he’s signed up for three films, is that perhaps Lucasfilm may be looking to fire Alden, if Ron Howard doesn’t particularly care for him.

I’d only add, that if any of this is the case, then we should start to see comments from other cast and crew members echoing issues with Ron Howard.  The truth will eventually come out, because it always does.

In all of this though, I can’t help but think of Lord & Miller’s reactions and responses about the casting of Alden in the following video.  They don’t really appear to be too happy about the topic.  Something seems amiss and awkward with regards to Alden’s casting.

Don’t Be Fooled By The He/She Back And Forth In Enfys Nest Marketing

I’ve previously discussed how Enfys Nest is in fact Qi’Ra in disguise.  I’ve also discussed the contradictory pronouns in Enfys Nest marketing material that are meant to protect the integrity of the big reveal of Enfys Nest as Qi’Ra in the film’s purported twist ending.  Now comes word of more pronoun contradictions from Jeremy at Geeks + Gamers.

Expect more to follow.

Do not be fooled by this marketing ploy.

What the political activists at Lucasfilm are attempting to do is deliver another moronic social justice lesson.  After the film is released, the cast and crew will talk about how brilliant it was to put out contradictory information on Enfys Nest’s gender in order to keep people guessing, and how it really goes to show that gender equality is a real thing, and that you shouldn’t let gender bias affect your viewpoints, and it’s going to be a really hard lesson for the chauvinist character Han Solo to learn, and don’t all those means-spirited middle-aged OT fans feel stupid for calling Rey a Mary Sue, and don’t all those misogynists feel silly for roasting Rose Tico and Holdo, because this really shows everyone that girls can be just as manly as men can be, because nobody had a clue what Enfys Nest’s gender was…yadda, yadda, yadda.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if all the Behind-The-Scenes Blu-Ray extras for this film, recording the cast and crew saying all of that, has already been recorded and edited.

But anyone with even a cursory knowledge of life drawing and the human anatomy, and the thought process involved in SJW political activism, will be able to see right through this transparent charade:

QiRaEnfysNest

Social justice politics are no mystery.

Shipper Bait

Hando

Chris Lee of Vulture.com reports on a 6 minute sequence from Solo shown at CinemaCon:

As the pile of chips grows in front of Han — whom Lando first calls “Haaan” before being corrected — Lando begins to lose his cool. Just then, Solo goes all in, pushing all his money into the pot. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down,” Lando says. “You might want to quit while you’re ahead.”

“You might want to quit while you’re behind,” Han responds.

“You’re adorable,” Lando fires back.

A ripple of recognition shuddered through the Caesar’s Palace Ballroom as conventioneers registered this film’s reinterpretation of Star Wars’ iconic rivals. Despite months of negative buzz and the uncertainty surrounding Solo in light of its original directors being fired and replaced, suffice it to say the material played well in the room.

Normal people would interpret this as banter between rivals as one attempts to belittle the other.

But you can bet your bottom dollar, that Hando shippers will be swooning over this from now until the movie’s release.

Alden Confirms That He Is Signed Up For Three Han Solo Films

Alex Pappadamas from Esquire interviews Alden Ehrenreich.  It’s a lengthy article that goes into some of the controversies around the production, with new statements from Lord & Miller which contradict earlier rumors, and so on and so forth.  As far as I’m’ concerned, the real story won’t really come out until everyone’s NDAs expire.

But there was this little interesting tidbit:

I ask Ehrenreich how many he’s signed up for.

“Three,” he says, then flinches, understanding he may have just created a disturbance in the Force. “I don’t know if that’s officially, uh, public. But—yeah.” 

Solo

Triple your pleasure, triple your fun.

Star Peace

I previously discussed the controversy over the removal of the blasters from the International Solo posters.  I also discussed Disney’s purported response to the removal, and how it conflicted with the known political climate in Brazil over the public debate on firearms.  I explained how it didn’t matter if the posters were international, since the political motivation for removing the blasters was the same despite being designed for Brazil.  I then repeated that explanation in response to Star Wars Explained’s inappropriate admonishment of Jeremy at Geeks + Gamers.

Star_PEACE_sm

Now Jeremy has discovered the same altered blasterless character images, now being used for American character posters.

If you still doubt that there is a political agenda at work here, read the following sentence from the new Han Solo novel Last Shot, which describes what happened when Han Solo brought a toy blaster home for a young Kylo Ren to play with:

He brought Ben a play blaster from Burundang and he was encouraging his violent side;

Pretty soon, every commanding officer in the Resistance will be some sort of space hippie like Holdo.

UPDATE:

Just a point of clarification here.

Jeremy is not speaking about the British Solo posters, which were released on the Star Wars UK Twitter feed, all of which sport blasters:

 

Rather what Jeremy is referring to instead, are the new blasterless character posters for the United States:

If you’ll recall, Disney purported responded to ScreenRant, specifically stating that, “First of all, the posters arent for the United States. They’re posters for Brazil.”

And yet, here are the very same blasterless images now in the United States poster. Compare and contrast:

Maybe Disney is trolling us.

 

Han Solo Novel Last Shot Unintentionally Retcons The Force Awakens

Among the tales of Han Solo’s baby sitting, and Lando Calrissian’s admiration of his own genitalia, Last Shot readers also get treated to the high adventure of Han Solo’s mid-life crisis.

James Whitbrook of i09 reports:

Daniel José Older’s new Star Wars novel, Last Shot, was bundled up with the recent wave of Solo: A Star Wars Story-themed book announcements. But while there are parts of it that deal with the early lives of Han and Lando, it’s at its best when it’s set decades after the upcoming movie, as the two come to terms with leaving their past—and their youth—behind.

…set approximately two years after Return of the Jedi and the Battle of Jakku, with Han pulled away from his family by Lando into a new adventure tying up the other arcs of the book through its mysterious villain, a sort of Dr. Frankenstein-for-droids figure named Fryzen Gor. That contrast is to starkly remind us of one thing: Han and Lando grew up.

From Han’s point of view in this time period, getting old is a petrifying and new thing to him, as he tries to balance his new homelife looking after a 2-year-old Ben Solo with a wife constantly caught up in the bureaucratic quagmire of establishing the New Republic (a New Republic that frequently wants Han to get caught up in its administration as well, much to his chagrin).

Han’s unease, so potent that it almost feels uncharacteristic for the smuggler-turned-Rebel-hero who helped bring down the Empire. How does a guy who’s spent most of his adult life on the run, solving problems with lies and deals and liberal amounts of blasterfire, know how to be a parent? Can he be the father he never really knew, or the husband he never thought he’d be, to a child and wife who unquestionably, thoroughly love him?

Han finds himself worryingly holo-calling home every time he has a moment to check up on Leia and Ben, and at one point late on in the novel he admits that he has no idea if he’s comfortable being out among the stars as a pilot anymore, doing the things he’s loved his whole life, when he knows should be back home raising Ben—despite the fact he has no idea if anything he’s doing with his son is actually good for the child.

But it’s also important reminder that these characters we’ve known and loved for years—decades, rather, of learning more and more about them over years of books and comics and movies, as we’re about to do so again with Solo next month—are not trapped in amber. They are confronted with maturity and aging and realities of lives outside of spaceship battles and daring rebellions, just as we all eventually become (well, at least without the spaceship battles and daring rebellions bit). And in confronting those very real emotions in Han and Lando, Last Shot becomes far more interesting than you might expect a supposed Solo tie-in novel to really be.

Okay.  So riddle me this: if Han Solo “grew up” 2 years after Return of the Jedi, and becomes a boring suburbanite dad while eschewing a life of adventure, then how come we see him in Episode VII as the same smuggler character we first met in Episode IV before his arc was finished in Episode VI?

Is this the year that Marvel’s superheroes finally topple Star Wars?

That’s the question that Michael Cavna at The Washington Post asks:

IS THIS the year that Marvel finally tops Star Wars?

Judging by early box-office figures and a new Fandango movie poll, this could indeed be the turning point when the Avengers prove more popular than the Rebel Alliance.

Ever since Disney-owned Lucasfilm rebooted the space movie franchise in 2015, the biggest Star Wars film of each year has outdistanced the biggest release from Disney-owned Marvel Studios.

This year, however, Marvel has come loaded for bear.

Hurtling toward summer, “Black Panther” remains the year’s biggest film by a long shot, having grossed $676 million domestically — a high bar to cross for any Star Wars film being released this far along into the franchise.

But the plot twist is, this month’s “Avengers: Infinity War” is tracking even higher than “Black Panther.” The mobile-ticketing platform Fandango announced last week that “Infinity War” was outselling the past seven Marvel Cinematic Universe movies — combined — in presale tickets.

Fandango follows that announcement up this week with news of a seasonal blockbuster survey that polled 4,500 fans. According to the ticketing site, the season’s most anticipated release is “Infinity War” (opening April 27), followed by “Deadpool 2” (May 18), with “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (May 25) sliding into third place ahead of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (June 22).

When “Infinity War” opens next week, it will try to top the $248 million opening weekend of “The Force Awakens” (the biggest domestic debut before adjusting for inflation). Star Wars is not going to give up any box-office crowns easily. (Current projections have “Infinity War” opening as high as $235 million.)

magic-8-ball-all-signs-point-to-yes-640x404

Lucasfilm Pulls A Crazy Ivan To Save The Integrity Of Solo’s Twist Ending

Recently SWNN’s anonymous insider leaked some details to them about the sex of the Solo villain, Enfys Nest:

“Enfys Nest is a female. It is not a big role, but it is important. She (the actress) worked closely with Woody Harrelson. She is signed for two more movies, presumably Solo sequels.”

This was seemingly confirmed by independent information, coming from French merchandising.

The text in the image apparently translates as:

“Enfys Nest, an extremely dangerous marauder, has quickly forged an infamous reputation for herself and her gang of pirates – the Cloud Riders.”

This along with some other accompanying clues, is what led me to deduce that Enfys Nest is in fact Qi’Ra, a revelation that would provide the big ending twist in the film that some are reporting on.

QiRaEnfysNest

Not so mysterious.

But in a transparent attempt to maintain the integrity of this twist, Lucasfilm is publishing material that claims that Enfys Nest is a man.

Kevin Burwick from Movieweb.com reports on a description of Enfys Nest published in Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Insider Magazine:

“Busy carving out a nefarious reputation as the violent and enigmatic leader of a gang of swoop-riding pirates, the Cloud Riders, the deadly Enfys Nest is an extremely dangerous and brutal marauder. With his face always obscured beneath a fearsome helmet, Nest is deadly, athletic, and percussively vicious.”

You can see an image of the text from the magazin here:

Kevin postulates:

Since this new information about Solo comes from an officially licensed source, it lends itself to be more reliable than the previous sources of information.

But, isn’t the text on the French merchandising also from an officially licensed source?

If it turns out that we have a poor translation of that French merchandising text, I’ll be happy to update this post with that information.

Sebastian Peris from Heroic Hollywood speculates:

Of course, this could be an attempt to keep a surprise reveal in the film under wraps…

I tend to agree.  If all of the information seen so far can be taken at face value, and if the translation of the French merchandising is accurate, then I see this as an attempt by Lucasfilm to correct course and maintain the mystery of Enfys Nest’s gender and the big reveal at the end, by publishing contradictory information after the French merchandising either accidentally or improperly let the cat out of the bag.

UPDATE:

As reported by SWNN, Star Wars Insider has published a description of Qi’Ra which strengthens my suspicion that she is Enfys Nest:

As a child Qi’ra was just another powerless street urchin, making her way as best she could on the grim thoroughfares of Corellia. Running with a street kid named Han, she was determined to move up in the world and gain status and reputation. As she got older, Qi’ra had grown into an independent young woman – clever and calculating , with a sophisticated edge and a knack for devious skullduggery.

Qi’ra is a secretive woman of the shadows, but who she really is is hidden away, and visible only to those she trusts. When her path crosses with Han’s once again, Qi’ra is destined to become an influential force in the life of the young smuggler.