Imagine that: Opie has suddenly inherited the "Star Wars" empire.
Ron Howard, who played the freckle-faced country boy on "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s, has been hired to replace the two directors booted this week from the set of the new movie about Han Solo, the rogue pilot played by Harrison Ford in the original 1977 blockbuster.
Howard, 63, is an Academy Award-winning director ("A Beautiful Mind") who is no stranger to fantasies and space adventures. His hit movies include 1985's "Cocoon" and 1995's "Apollo 13," which was nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture.
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller had reportedly completed three-quarters of the filming of the latest installment of "Star Wars" when they were dramatically fired after clashing with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
Replacing a director this deep into a production is "near-unprecedented," says the Hollywood Reporter. Howard inherits a film that has just under one month left in its shooting schedule.
Filming is set to resume on July 10.
The untitled movie, which stars relatively unknown Alden Ehrenreich in the role made famous by Ford, is scheduled to premiere May 25, 2018. The cast also includes Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke ("Game of Thrones") and Thandie Newton ("Westworld").
Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage via Getty Images
By Kevin Haynes |