Lawrence Kasdan (born January 14, 1949) is an American movie producer, director and screenwriter. He co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. He also wrote Lucasfilm's Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Outside of his work for Lucasfilm, Kasdan is known for both writing and directing his films, which have ranged from Westerns to romantic comedies to thought-provoking dramas. He has received four Academy Award nominations, for screenplays to The Big Chill, Grand Canyon, and The Accidental Tourist, for which he also earned a directing nod.
The Empire Strikes Back
In 1978, George Lucas commissioned Lawrence Kasdan, who was in midst of revising his own Raiders of the Lost Ark script for both him and Steven Spielberg, to complete the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back after the death of Leigh Brackett, whose script hadn't satisfied Lucas, leading him to write the next draft himself, which mostly included the main plot elements and characters seen in the finished film, but lacked a good dialogue. Lucas had yet to even read Kasdan's first draft of Raiders, but asked him to rewrite Brackett's script when Kasdan delivered it. Kasdan suggested Lucas to first read his Raiders draft, but Lucas to threatened him to withdraw his offer the next day if he disliked Raiders. Lucas ultimately hired Kasdan to co-write all subsequent Empire drafts out of desperation, given that he didn't have anyone else available for the job. Despite his admiration for Brackett, Kasdan opined that Brackett's script was sort of old-fashioned, feeling that the story's spirit was different despite the characters being the same.
In the end, Lucas opted to read Kasdan's script for Raiders first and liked it, hiring him almost immediately, as the crew were in pre-production and lacked an script, though in contrast to Kasdan's assignment to write Raiders, Lucas had conceived the whole story for The Empire Strikes Back by then and just needed Kasdan to get the script done and approved by Irvin Kershner, the film's director. Fortunately for Lucas, Kasdan was a fan of genre movies and the films by Akira Kurosawa and Howard Hawks while able to write playful romance, broad humor, personal intimacies and infusing characters with a thoroughly emotional subtext. Once hired, Kasdan was informed by Lucas that one of the plot points in the script was that Darth Vader would be revealed as Luke Skywalker's father, which was a total surprise for Kasdan. Unaware of what elements from Brackett's draft were included in Lucas', Kasdan felt that Lucas' draft was a rough first draft somewhere between a film outline and a complete first draft, like if it were a "skeleton for a movie" which urged "flesh and muscle." Kasdan decided to make the story of The Empire Strikes Back darker than that of the first Star Wars, a decision Lucas agreed with as he had envisioned a trajectory for the first three Star Wars films and The Empire Strikes Back was going to be the second act, where traditionally the protagonists of a story face a difficult situation, with Kershner likening the script's tone to that of the gloomy fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.
In November 1978, with filming slated to start in five months, Kasdan reunited with Lucas, Kershner and producer Gary Kurtz for a story conference. During the next two weeks, Lucas explained to Kasdan the purpose of some scenes, what he wanted to achieve dramatically and how he could improve them, requesting the script to be no longer than 105 pages. Kasdan and Lucas agreed with Kershner and Kurtz that Empire had to grapple on the philosophical issues raised by the original film but in a quick an unraveled way, leaving some questions unanswered for the audience's imagination. Kasdan thought that Lucas was sometimes committing a mistake by hurrying up an scene to get to the next one and skipping its emotional content, a sentiment shared by Kurtz despite Lucas' belief that if the action was enough, the audience would not notice it. Kasdan felt that whereas he was interested in exploring the relationships between characters and their eccentricities, Lucas cared more on moving the plot forward. While reading Lucas' drafts, Kasdan read some sections that were terrible on his opinion. He thought that the movie could hold more complexity and character instead of being simpler like Lucas thought. After taking notes from the conference, Kasdan went back to Los Angeles and returned with a twenty-five pages draft for Empire. As the script was developed, Kasdan added some Zen Buddhism overtones to the Yoda character that became pronounced once Kershner, a Buddhist like Kasdan, reshaped the material along with him. Yoda's characteristic speec patterns were conceived by Kasdan and Lucas, and were later developed by Frank Oz. A character created by Kasdan was that of Admiral Piett, as Kasdan knew that there was fun in giving some grist to background characters to help the viewers identify them and and remind the audience that some Imperials were people doing their jobs. The shooting script for Empire was eventually finished by Kasdan, with some minor changes to dialogues added by Kershner and actors throughout the filming, which were mostly approved by Lucas. Kasdan initially objected to the on-set improvisations, but eventually warmed up to Harrison Ford's improvisation of the line "I know" despite that he didn't write it.
The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980. One of the film's aspects critics mostly praised was incidentally the character development. It also marked the first time Kasdan's name appeared in a film's credits. In retrospective, Kasdan stated a year later that he felt that his major contribution to the saga was indeed the character development of the main characters. He also went to praise Kersher's direction, style and his ability to convince Lucas to do some things differently as planned.
Return of the Jedi
Following the release of The Empire Strikes Back, Kasdan began his directing career and expressed no interest in writing another Star Wars movie. However, George Lucas supported him as an uncredited producer for Body Heat, his directorial debut, so Kasdan felt that he owed him a favor when Lucas approached him to write Return of the Jedi, the follow-up to The Empire Strikes Back. When approached, Kasdan was preparing himself right then to direct The Big Chill and no longer was writing movies for other filmmakers, but from his point of view, Lucas had given him a career and needed his help once more. Before rehiring Kasdan, Lucas had also hired Richard Marquand, who would serve as the director for Return of the Jedi as Kershner had read an scaled-down version of the script for Jedi but didn't believe in it, hence part of his disinterest in returning.
On June 12, 1981, upon the completition of Lucas' revised rough draft , Kasdan started to write the shooting script for Return of the Jedi based on a story by Lucas. With the script ready in the form of a rough draft, Kasdan attended some story meetings with Lucas, Marquand and producer Howard G. Kazanjian between July 13 and July 17. During these meetings, the draft written by Lucas was changed considerably, dropping, altering and expanding some ideas and suggesting others. In one of the meetings, Kasdan proposed along with Marquand the idea of opening the film featuring the rescue of Han Solo, a sequence which was more simpler in Lucas' rought draft, with Kasdan suggesting killing off Jabba the Hutt during the sequence. Lucas additionally suggested Kasdan to write a great scene featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi as a Force ghost with powerful Shakespearian dialogue for Sir Alec Guinness. In an effort to one-up the first film, Lucas initially wrote two Death Stars and Had Abbadon, the Imperial homeworld, but Kasdan suggested to combine all three of them into a single threat, leading Lucas to conclude that it wasn't a good idea to show Vader and the Emperor in an area unrelated to the story and that it wasn't financially possible to design the Imperial planet. Respect to the Emperor, Lucas desired to establish him as the true source of evil in the saga, to which Kasdan noted that the relationship between Vader and the Emperor was that the latter was much more powerful and intimidating, posessing all the power while Vader posessed dignity. Lucas also shared with Kasdan, Marquand and Kazanjian some of his early ideas for the eventual Star Wars prequel trilogy, including how the Emperor took over the Galactic Senate and turned Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force or how all people could use the Force like the Jedi, comparing it to yoga or karate. When the meetings ended, Kasdan was left with an immense transcript full of confirmed decisions and rejected ideas about how the script should be formed.
While writing the screenplay, Kasdan felt that the film lacked any real gravity and proposed to kill off one of the main characters during the beginning of the film's final act to make the audience doubt on whether the heroes would survive unscathed or if there would be even a happy ending. Kasdan suggested to maybe kill Luke and allow Leia Organa to take over his role, but Lucas disagreed because it reminded him how upset he ended up as a child if his hero in a movie was killed. In turn, Harrison Ford suggested to kill off Han Solo by having him sacrificing himself for Luke and Leia because he felt that his character wasn't part if the bigger story and lacked of family, responsibilities and future. Kasdan supported Ford, having been in favor of killing Solo since The Empire Strikes Back but feeling that Return of the Jedi was the right movie to do it, as they were ending the trilogy, but Lucas also refused. Another dropped suggestion from Kasdan was to give Anakin Skywalker a little grey beard to give him a little normality upon being unmasked. In regards to Luke's confrontation with the Emperor, Kasdan suggested Lucas to have Luke pretending to join the Emperor by putting on Darth Vader's mask and going to the second Death Star's controls but fire on Had Abbadon, the Imperial homeworld, instead of destroying the Rebel Alliance's fleet, but this twist didn't make it when Had Abaddon was dropped from the film. Prior to Had Abaddon's abandonement, Kasdan constantly argued with Lucas during pre-production on whether if it was better to scrap Endor's presence for the climatic battle and settle it on the Imperial capital.
In September 1981, Kasdan delivered his second draft for Return of the Jedi, but revisions continued on it until November and a third draft was written in December. In the end, to satisfy the fans emotionally, Kasdan felt that Jedi should be a combination of the first two Star Wars films, including the fun of the original film and the positive values given in the second film. In respect of the film's title, Kasdan told Lucas that he opined that Return of the Jedi was a weak title, leading Lucas to change it to Revenge of the Jedi. However, Lucas ultimately felt that the title was wrong because the Jedi don't seek revenge and opted to rename the film back into Return of the Jedi, though some teaser posters with the "Revenge" word drawn by Drew Struzan in the title had already been distributed.
Return of the Jedi was released on May 25, 1983. Even before the film's release, Kasdan stated that he would not write any other Star Wars film, being correctly sure that Lucas would start shooting the prequel trilogy next, but also stated that he would never say never, as he didn't think that he would even write Jedi in the first place.
The Force Awakens
- "There were many times over the ensuing years when George [asked] me to be involved in all three [prequels]. He said, 'Hey, how would you like to write such-and-such?' I said, 'George, aren't you supposed to start shooting in two weeks, in Australia?' He said, 'Yeah, but it’s not too late.'"
- ―Lawrence Kasdan on George Lucas
In the following years after the release of Return of the Jedi, Lucas did good as his word and developed the Star Wars prequel trilogy, consisting of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, released in 1999, 2002 and 2005 respectively. During the development of the prequels, Lucas constantly approached Kasdan to write any of them, even during the first screening of The Phantom Menace, but Kasdan resisted all offers to return to the franchise though Lucas thought that it would be great for Kasdan to take a second pass on the script. Kasdan opined that after some of the creative clashes against him, Kershner and Marquand during the original trilogy, Lucas should do the prequels just as he wanted. Incidentally, one of the most criticized aspects of the prequel trilogy was its dialogue, which critics feeling it "too corny and cheesy," despite Lucas' opinion that the dialogue was tongue-in-cheek because of the prequels' underlying motif as a melodrama and nature as a soap opera.
In early 2012, however, Kasdan was contacted by Kathleen Kennedy to talk with her and Lucas, as the latter was planning to retire and sell Lucasfilm Ltd. to The Walt Disney Company, but part of the deal involved the production of more Star Wars movies. While Kasdan had doubts on whether to accept the offer, he gadly accepted it when Kennedy and Lucas offered him to make a film centered on Han Solo. Kennedy and Lucas also wanted Kasdan to consult the script for Star Wars: Episode VII, which Kasdan offered to do once a month before settling on consulting the seventh installment of the saga and writing the Han Solo movie. On October 30, Lucas sold Lucasfilm Ltd. to The Walt Disney Company for US$4.05 billion and it was announced that among the new films, there would be a Star Wars sequel trilogy which would continue the saga after Return of the Jedi. Reports surfaced on November 20 that Kasdan, along with screenwriter Simon Kinberg, would be co-producing all three films of the upcoming sequel trilogy, and would share writing responsibilities with Kinberg on the eight and ninth films. Subsequent reports, citing insider confirmation, suggested that Kasdan and Kinberg would indeed be writing Star Wars projects, just not necessarily Episodes VIII and IX. However, StarWars.com confirmed on January 25, 2013 that Kasdan and J.J. Abrams would serve as the screenwriters for Episode VII, with Abrams also directing the film. Kasdan was excited upon learning of Abrams' hiring, because he thought that Abrams was the right person to direct the film, finding him funny and smart once they met. On February 5, Disney confirmed that Kasdan was also working along with Kinberg on new standalone films, not Episodes VIII and IX as reported two and a half months earlier. Feeling the original trilogy to be part of his "DNA," Kasdan didn't rewatch the first three films of the franchise, as his and Abrams' intent was to bring something new and different to the saga with Abrams as director, much like how Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand imposed their respective visions in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Michael Arndt had been initially hired to write Episode VII, so Kasdan was brought into the project to see if he could consult on Arndt's script. Kasdan also met with Episode VIII director Rian Johnson to have a week-long story session. Throughout 2013, Kasdan had many meetings with Ardnt and the planning group, including Kennedy and Kiri Hart from the Lucasfilm Story Group. He reunited with Arndt and the filmmakers at a hotel in Santa Monica to figure out the story for Episode VII, but they struggled to come up with a story for months and production was approaching, leading Arndt to leave the film and hand the screenwriting duties to Kasdan and Abrams. Writing the script, Kasdan felt that it was Han Solo the character the audience finds irresistible instead of Luke, comparing Solo to William Holden, Jimmy Cagney and Humphrey Bogart due to being forced to be reluctantly heroic and altruistic. Kasdan had always feel that Han impressed the audience for his unpredictability and willingness to risk everything. He found irresistible to write to revisit the character of Han Solo, now older but no wiser. Acknowleding that thirty years had passed in-universe since they had last seen the iconic smuggler, Kasdan opined that Han should commit the same mistakes again and again because while he was no longer young, his personality remained the same, but he had also been changed by some experiences, regrets and disappointments, which Kasdan knew were the basis of the character. Writing the original trilogy trio thirty years after their last appearance was fun for Kasdan, as he had aged just like Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. The film finally killed off Han Solo just like Kasdan and Ford had originally desired since Return of the Jedi, though Kasdan felt that Ford may have rethought about killing Solo during the interim between the original and sequel films. Abrams initially feared taking the decision to kill off Solo, but Kasdan convinced him to go ahead with it, being enthusiastic about the idea to Abrams' relief, who felt that Kasdan made him feel that the idea wasn't necessarily the worst one. As for Luke Skywalker's presence in the film, Arndt's script introduced Luke Skywalker halfway through the film, but as Luke's appearance upstaged the protagonist, Kasdan and Abrams ultimately agreed with Arndt prior to his departure that Luke should be withdrawed from the story and become the film's MacGuffin. Similarly, R2-D2 and C-3PO were initially written to appear together as in previous films, but Kasdan intelligently suggested Arndt to sideline Artoo as well and keep him separate from Threepio, so the former could have his own "awakening" at the end. Artoo could also serve as a plot device just like Luke, being part of the missing framework to find the legendary Jedi, with Kasdan, Arndt and Abrams thinking that he could have downloaded vital information when he plugged into the Death Star back in the original film.
Han Solo and the original trilogy characters aside, Kasdan and Abrams also had to develop new characters to carry on the sequel trilogy. The whole movie consisted in a series of character introductions, whether new or familiar. From the initial discussions with Abrams, Kasdan became aware of Abrams' excitement at the concept of having a woman at the centre of the trilogy's story, which led to the creation of Rey. The character of Kylo Ren, the main antagonist, was unique for Kasdan and brand new to the saga, describing him as full of emotion, which he deals with the best he can, being ultimately impressed with how Adam Driver ended up playing the part in the finished film. Kasdan also conceived the idea of making the character Finn a deserting stormtrooper, feeling that it would be incredible to have one of their protagonists be a member of a known group of "faceless, indistinguishable automatons." Kasdan first had the idea before Arndt departed the production, as Arndt recalled how exasperated Kasdan blurted out such backstory as they struggled to find an original background for their male lead.
Kasdan and Abrams wrote the screenplay for Episode VII, which was titled The Force Awakens, under time pressure, but Kasdan found the writing process as the most funniest from his career. In addition to Santa Monica, Kasdan and Abrams discussed about the story in New York City, Paris, London; discussions which Abrams recorded on his iPhone. They even worked energized right through Christmas 2013. Their first draft was completed in six weeks. The changes of Kasdan and Abrams to Arndt's initial script stalled the casting process of The Force Awakens for a while, but it finally began in earnest in January 2014, which was when Kasdan and Abrams delivered their first draft, relieving the production crew, who now had so much to prep and build in England. Since January to the start of production, Kasdan and Abrams continued to write some parts of the script even during filming.
The Force Awakens was on December 18, 2015. Kasdan's return to the franchise for the film was especially praised by The Hollywood Reporter's reviewer Todd McCarthy, who felt that Awakens let feel Kasdan's hand into the story, which McCarthy compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark in terms of its exuberance and incident.
After working on The Force Awakens, however, Kasdan turned his attention back on the Han Solo-centric film Lucasfilm had initially asked him to write. As part of the Star Wars Anthology line, an intended stand-alone film series focused on the origin stories of some Star Wars characters, the film was intended to tell Han's origin story. Though reluctant to return at first, Kasdan decided to do so as Solo, without doubt, was his favorite character. While talking with Michael Arndt and Simon Kinberg, Kasdan explained to them his own idea of how Han got his last name, assuring that he had no family to a person who ended up giving him the surname "Solo." Kasdan pitched his idea by telling Disney CEO Bob Iger about this scene, which impressed Iger and led him to greenlight the movie. Kasdan wrote the script between the story meetings for The Force Awakens, but stopped working on it once he was asked by Kathleen Kennedy to help Abrams with Episode VII's script. He was left with almost no time to write the Han movie given his and Abrams' constant rewrites during Episode VII's production. As he worked in The Force Awakens As he worked in The Force Awakens, Kasdan left his son Jon to write the Han Solo film until he returned. Once his screenwriting duties for The Force Awakens finished, Kasdan was unsure if he wanted to still write the film, but Lucasfilm insisted their interest to still make it, which led Kasdan to ask them if they could hire Jon too to work with him because of his enthusiasm and creativity. Kasdan credited his son for reawakening his interest in the project, reminding him everything why had gotten him excited when he started working on the script, his love for the Han Solo character and that they could make a different Star Wars movie, touching many of the film genres they liked like film noir or Westerns. Since he was a kid, along with his brother Jake, Jon had tried to pressure his father into returning to the franchise. Kasdan even brought Jon with him to visit the set of The Force Awakens, even allowing Jon to be involved in some pivotal scenes like Han's death. Though Jon had followed his father's steps by becoming a filmmaker, father and son had never written a movie together. Lucasfilm approved Kasdan's idea and negotiated with Jon to make the film. Thus, father and son started working on the script in 2015. Like his father, Jon was also a fan of the Han Solo character. One of the aspects the Kasdans appreciated mostly from Solo was his recklessness in his relationships and life, inspiring them to write how Solo got to form that attitude toward life. To direct the film, Kasdan insisted in hiring the filmmaker duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, feeling they were the right directors to fill Han's mysterious backstory. On July 7, 2015, Lord and Miller were confirmed to direct the film, with the Kasdans expressing delight on working with the duo to bring a fresh, new dimension to the franchise.
The Kasdans worked on the script for nine months. Kasdan found the tone of the script, that of a crime Western, different in comparison to the main Star Wars films, where there were always the Rebels vs. Empire dynamic. They also added more explicit romance in the film compared to Han's brief flirting in the original trilogy. Kasdan didn't see the film as an origin story like Jon brilliantly put it up, but as a rite of passage, focused on human concerns instead of the Force, the Jedi and religion; how Han was formed and why he did end up doing the things he later did during the saga. Kasdan also saw the film as a love story about Han and Chewbacca, whom Kasdan saw as a great and fun foil to Han, because their friendship is the best one from the saga, which Jon compared to one with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, which they found challenging to write. For the story, the Kasdans took inspiration from some Western and crime movies like Heat, Unforgiven, Gangster No. 1 and various movies of the Coen brothers like The Big Lebowski as well from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel Treasure Island; the latter being also an adventure story of a young boy who meets characters of dubious intent, which the Kasdans read again before diving into the script. Before Jon or anyone else joined the project, Kasdan had conceived the notion of a Charles Dickens-esque childhood for Han as well as the character of Qi'ra, Han's romantic interest whom Kasdan named "Kura" at first. It was also decided from the beginning of the script's development that Qi'ra would end up betraying and leaving Han, as she was intended to be more complicated and ambitious than Han himself at that point in their lives. Another aspect from the script present in every draft was the Conveyex transport's job, though the cargo was originally intended to be an extrmeely-dangerous criminal instead of coaxium. To invoke the sense of a space Western, the Kasdans chose to create Vandor-1 to evoke the beautiful landscape from the Southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where the Kasdans spend many Christmas together. Another sequence stuck from the very first draft was that of the Akkadese Maelstrom, which the Kasdans discussed endlessly with the crew because they wanted it as a means to make the Kessel Run visually exciting, wanting to give a Jules Verne flavor to the scene.
Among some of the things Lord and Miller added to the script were the inclusion of the speeder chase at the beginning. Kasdan was instead more passionate about having a foot-chase to evoke the Dickesian element and an scene in which Han pulls out an eel from his pants as a nod to River Phoenix, who previously worked with Kasdan in his film I Love You to Death, though the scene was ultimately cut from the finished film. When it was decided to also cut the scene where Han is expelled for disobeying direct orders at the Imperial Academy, the Kasdans fought hard to keep the scene in the film, as they saw it crucial to show Han as a pilot, but it was ultimately deemed to be a hinderance to the story's flow, which consistently felt to start upon Chewbacca's arrival. The Kasdans also intended to include a spooky Ridley Scott-type planet full of Lovecraftian monsters, where the protagonists would be forced to pit stop, but Lord and Miller correctly determined that the pit-stop would interrupt the Kessel Run's momentum. The film's characters represented facets of Han's formation and were inspired by one of the most common themes in Star Wars, which consists that anyone can find a new family if his original one may be gone, changing each other by their contact or meeting as strangers at first, like is the case of the first meetings of Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian with Han, or even forgetting about old acquaintances, like it happens with Han's relationship with Qi'ra, which changes over the movie's course. An early inspiration Kasdan had for the character if Qi'ra was that of Jane Greer's Kathie Moffat from the seminal film noir film Out of the Past. As a movie styled with film noir, its absolute center had to be a femme fatale with a dark duality about whether to give her love to the people she cares or let her selfishness get her best, a role which the Kasdans found perfect for Qi'ra, approving Emilia Clarke's casting as her, whom Kasdan thought to be one of the best Star Wars women, being a fan of Clarke's work in Game of Thrones. The Kasdans based Tobias Beckett on Long John Silver, the main antagonist of Treasure Island, whose mentor/apprentice relationship with Jim Hawkins they wanted to recreate between Beckett and Solo. The Kasdans approved Woody Harrelson's casting as Beckett, feeling that he could embody the duality of appearing as a figure who can be seen as a teacher, a father figure, a rascal, an unreliable narrator or an unrealiable partner. The character of L3-37 was conceived in conversations between the Kasdans, Lord and Miller, coming from the latter's astute observation that it was funny how Wuher kicked out C-3PO in the first Star Wars film, given that droids seems to be the least rambunctious folks in the galaxy. With L3, the Kasdans saw an opportunity to add a new female character with a voice that was different from the others the audience had already seen. While Jon wrote Lando Calrissian as pansexual and romantically interested in L3-37, Kasdan was more cryptic about the intention of L3's jokes focusing on Lando's flirty attitude toward Han, musing that it may mean something or not, dismissing the dialogue as part of L3's personality. Respect to some sequences, one that survived several drafts fairly deep into production before being dropped involved Beckett's gang leaving Mimban without Solo and Chewbacca, leading the duo to steal an Imperial garbage ship to escape, dumping the garbage onto several stormtroopers in the process. To figure out how to write the Kessel Heist to have the kind of feeling and momentum of coordinated effort, the Kasdans kept revisiting the Mission: Impossible film series, though Han's personality constrasts that of Ethan Hunt.
Once the script was finished, casting for the young Han Solo began, and Alden Ehrenreich was ultimately cast in the lead role. With Ehrenreich's casting, certain parts of the script were revised so they could be tailored to Ehrenreich's voice. Kathleen Kennedy also sent Harrison Ford a copy of the Kasdans' script for his approval. Filming began in 2017, but as filming went ahead, Lucasfilm felt that Lord and Miller were moving the movie away from the vision crafted by the Kasdans' script and significantly changing the story by encouraging an improvisational style on set. To appease Kasdan, who was against improvisation, Lord and Miller shot alternate takes with the actors reciting the dialogue "word by word" and additional ones with improvised dialogue. As the measures didn't get the production on track, Kennedy requested Kasdan to come to London, but Lord and Miller felt that Kasdan had become something like a "shadow director." Though Lucasfilm believed they could fix all these issues with the reshoots, Lord and Miller were reportedly reluctant to alter their approach, which led Kennedy to remove them from the project. Kasdan felt that given their successes in comedies like 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie, Lord and Miller wanted to make fun of the film's tone and push it into the "Guardians of the Galaxy territory," which he refused, as he felt that though one can have fun with the tone, they should not make fun of the tone, having the sense that in nowadays' meta culture there is a tendency to make fun of films even before they are made. Having come up with the premise years ago, Kasdan felt some kind of ownership of the film, which led him to raise his voice to mantain and hear the franchise's tone. Said and done, it was announced on June 20, 2017 by Lucasfilm that a new director for the film would soon be announced as Lord and Miller were departing from the project due to creative differences. Once Lord and Miller left the project, Kennedy searched for a new director immediately, trying to have Kasdan assume the directorial duties of the film. However, Kasdan was prevented from doing so by the rules of the Directors Guild of America, which established that someone already involved in a production which has lost a director can't serve as a replacement, leading Kennedy to consider Ron Howard and Joe Johnston as other potential options. Howard ultimately agreed to replace Lord and Miller and joined the project two days later. Kasdan approved Howard's hiring, as he invited him and Jon to talk and expressed his love towards their script. Howard then directed some reshoots, during which Howard brought back the subject of including the Lovecraftian monsters the Kasdans had initially written, leading to the creation of the Summa-verminoth. Filming finished on October 17 and its title was officially announced to be Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Solo: A Star Wars Story was released on May 25, 2018. The Kasdans were praised by Forbes incidentally for making the film feel like a random adventure rather than the usual "Empire versus Rebellion" struggle, while The Guardian credited them for "channeling the spirits" of the original trilogy into the film. However, Solo ended up underperforming, something which Kasdan felt unusual. Kasdan later stated that he felt that Lucasfilm "blew it" in regards to Solo. Furthermore, following the film's flop, the studio repeatedly tried to woo him back, even sending a messenger with a new Star Wars script, but Kasdan was not interested and didn't answer it, as he just wanted to get back to directing, which has always been his true passion.
- The Empire Strikes Back Notebook
- The Jedi Master's Quizbook
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- Star Wars Insider 49 - Interview with Scott Chernoff
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 146
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 150
- "Insider Looks Back"—Star Wars Insider 150
- "Launchpad"—Star Wars Insider 160
- "Back on Set!"—Star Wars Insider 160
- "Bantha Tracks"—Star Wars Insider 160
- Star Wars: Build Your Own X-Wing 11 (Creating a Starship Fleet: The Ice Hangar – Filming the Rebel Base)
- Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: The Official Collector's Edition
Notes and references