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For decades, George Lucas was the driving creative force behind the Star Wars franchise, even when others were sitting in the director's chair. But in 2012, Lucas sold his creation to Disney, and while he's since visited the sets of The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi, usually that was just to see how these new movies were coming along. However, during the making of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucas briefly stepped back into the director's chair when he made a suggestion about a scene involving Han Solo on the Millennium Falcon. According to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy:
He had intended to just kind of stop by and say hi, and he stayed five hours. There's even one little moment in a scene that --- I can't tell you what, sorry --- but in the scene on the Millennium Falcon where George said, 'Why doesn't Han just do this.'
It sounds like Kathleen Kennedy isn't willing to reveal exactly George Lucas suggested on set until after Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out, but nevertheless, it's cool to hear that he was able to contribute to the spinoff. Solo was initially directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller until they were let go approximately 75% of the way into principal photography, and Ron Howard, who worked with Lucas on American Graffiti, was brought in to oversee the rest of the main shoot and the reshoots. Now we can add Lucas as another director whose handprint (so to speak) is on the movie. Kennedy continued in her interview with EW:
It actually is a funny little bit that will probably get a laugh. And Ron happened to be by the monitor and not inside the Falcon and he goes, 'Oh that's a great idea,' and ran in and said, 'George wants us to do this.' So that was pretty cool. I think George felt pretty great about that. He could revisit these characters, and I think he felt so comfortable, obviously with Ron being there, that it was just fun for him.
Along with successfully suggesting how to improve this Han Solo scene, George Lucas also gave Ron Howard a key piece of advice for making Solo: A Star Wars Story: "Just enjoy this." Those are wise words indeed, and Howard took them to heart. Harrison Ford's time as Han Solo ended in The Force Awakens when Han was killed by Kylo Ren, but Solo will give us at least one more big screen adventure with the character as we explore how he became the notorious smuggler we know and love, and it's lovely that Lucas was able to help out in a small way.
Solo: A Star Wars Story blasts its way into theaters on May 25. If you're interested in what other major motion pictures are coming out this year, you can find release date information in our 2018 premiere guide.