The Directors Guild of America is suddenly a major player when it comes to what happens with the director credit on the untitled Han Solo-focused “Star Wars” movie.
On Tuesday, directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were reportedly fired from the movie by Lucasfilm’s president, Kathleen Kennedy, following creative differences. The two had spent months shooting the movie, and now Lucasfilm is scrambling to find a replacement to finish the movie with a few weeks left of principal photography.
Many in Hollywood are now turning to the DGA, which protects the interests of feature film and television directors, to bring clarity to the options Miller and Lord have when it comes to director credit and residuals on the movie.
The Hollywood Reporter points out that the DGA has a strict rule that prohibits replacing the director with someone else from the film’s team except in the case of an emergency. The rule was created to discourage producers from forcing out the director and taking over a picture.
So even though reports have the movie’s screenwriter, Lawrence Kasdan, as a potential replacement, this rule would not allow it.
That leaves other names floating around including Ron Howard and Joe Johnston (1995’s “Jumanji”). But if either takes the job, another question comes up: Who gets director credit on the finished film?
The DGA frowns upon multiple director credits. The DGA’s “Creative Rights Handbook” says “only one Director may be assigned to a motion picture at any given time.” There are exceptions, as waivers can be sent to get a directing duo the same credit (presumably this would have happened for Miller and Lord). But it’s very hard to know whether the DGA would allow a three-name credit in this case.
There is no appeals process with the DGA. Its decision is final.
Lord and Miller have not taken their names off the movie. But if they do, they could lose out on millions of dollars.
THR reports that the rules state if a director pulls his or her name from a movie, a pseudonym is put in its place (often the DGA uses the name “Alan Smithee”). The fired directors might also have to forfeit all residuals, which for a “Star Wars” movie would be a good chunk of change. It is not clear whether the duo would lose their residuals if they don’t pull their names but remain off the movie.
The DGA did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but it’s obvious the lawyers and agents for the directors, Lucasfilm, and the DGA will be working some late hours trying to figure all this out.