Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back

Earlier this evening, it was reported that Phil Lord and Chris Miller had exited the untitled Han Solo spinoff set in the pre-A New Hope days of the Star Wars universe. Well, not too long after that news had broken, a supposed short list of replacements was drafted, and has made its way to Twitter. There are only three names, but each has an interesting pedigree, with two candidates having a personal connection to the Star Wars saga. Your director shortlist is as follows:

We're just going to go ahead and repeat those three names, because this is pretty big time stuff. Ron Howard, the director of such films as Splash, Apollo 13 and, most recently, Inferno, is the first name on that list. Then there's Lawrence Kasdan, director of films like Silverado and The Big Chill, writer of The Empire Strikes Back and co-writer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who is also on the list. Last, but not least, is a visual effects artist from the Original Trilogy-turned-director; a young upstart by the name of Joe Johnston. With the field set, let's take a look at everyone's credentials a little closer.

In terms of Ron Howard's candidacy, he definitely has a varied background that ranges from straight dramas and historical pieces to fantastical films like Willow, and let's not forget the action-packed work he's done with the Robert Langdon films, too. He could be a good pick, if only because his directorial eye would be able to balance prestige-worthy filmmaking with big ticket thrills. But the next two candidates have somewhat of an advantage over Howard.

With Lawrence Kasdan's name in the ring, the Star Wars legacy would be well represented due to his pen touching two of the most well-known installments in the series' history. It would also be a fitting for Kasdan to serve as the director on this untitled Han Solo spinoff, as this film also serves as his last film as a writer for the Star Wars universe. So what better way to say goodbye than to shepherd his words into images?

However, our favorite candidate has a mix of Star Wars credentials and big budget directing credits. Not only did Joe Johnston help create the visuals that made the classic Star Wars trilogy so striking, but he's also created some of the most exciting blockbuster films. In particular, his work on The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger would be the projects that show just what Johnston can do with the right projects in his canon. Not to mention that if he does a bang up job finishing this Solo effort, he might be in line to make that Boba Fett film he's always wanted to make.

While the tweet from The Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit is far from confirmed, these three names don't just show that quality directors are possibly in the wings to replace Phil Lord and Chris Miller. They also show that Disney is following DC and Warner Bros' example of bringing in proven directorial talent when a project really needs it to stay on target.

The untitled Han Solo spin-off in the Star Wars saga is set for release on May 25, 2018. As soon as we have a confirmed director, or a debunked list of potentials, we'll provide an update.

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