When Lucasfilm fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller from its untitled Han Solo movie, the decision created not just a disturbance in the Force, but one in the schedule as well.
As quickly as Kathy Kennedy moved to bring in Ron Howard to direct, the production still experienced a delay while Howard figured out how to rescue the film. That delay created a scheduling conflict for actor Michael Kenneth Williams, who was unable to return for the subsequent reshoots, and as a result, he has been cut from the Star Wars spinoff.
Williams revealed the news himself in an interview with Deadline tied to his Emmy campaign for his supporting turn on HBO’s The Night Of. While Lucasfilm never announced who Williams would be playing in the Han Solo movie, the actor said he played a character who was half-human, half-animal. It’s unclear if Williams will be replaced by another actor, or if the character will be removed from the film entirely.
“I felt great about what I created with the directors that I worked with,” Williams told Deadline. “We created a kick-ass character, in my opinion. I’m proud of it,” said Williams, who added, “it is what it is.”
It seems the culprit behind the conflict was the independent spy movie The Red Sea Diving Resort starring Chris Evans, Haley Bennett, Greg Kinnear and Ben Kingsley.
“When Ron Howard got hired to finish out the film, there were some reshoot issues that needed to be done in regards to my character, in order for it to match the new direction which the producers wanted Ron to carry the film in, and that would have required me on a plane a month ago to London, to Pinewood, to do reshoots. But I’m here, on location in Africa. It’s scheduling,” explained Williams, who said he won’t be back on the market until the end of November once he wraps the new season of his SundanceTV series Hap and Leonard. “For them to wait that long for me, that would have pushed back the release date, which I believe is in May 2018. They wanted me now; I couldn’t go. So they had to clip-clip-clip.”
This is a bummer all around, as it would’ve been fun to see Williams (best known as Omar from The Wire) in the Star Wars universe, indulging his inner sci-fi geek. The loss of Williams strikes me as a loss for the film, but only time will tell whether the actor will regret having signed on to Red Sea Diving Resort, or whether he dodged a bullet by not appearing in Han Solo.
Who knows, maybe Williams will be cast in another Star Wars movie someday? The actor said he had a great experience working with Lucasfilm, it just wasn’t in the cards this time around.
Disney still plans to release the Alden Ehrenreich-led Han Solo spinoff on May 25, 2018.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief