If you felt like you were watching a fiery car crash when you heard that the Han Solo “Star Wars” spinoff fired its directors during filming, we have great news: Replacement director Ron Howard has experience saving Han Solo from car crashes.
Or at least saving Harrison Ford, the star who originated the role of the galactic smuggler.
Before he made “Star Wars,” George Lucas made 1973’s “American Graffiti,” and gave Ford the role of Bob Falfa, a cocky street racer whose ’55 Chevy was a good warmup for learning to fly the Millennium Falcon. Spoiler warning if you haven’t seen “American Graffiti,” but it ends with a morning drag race that nearly kills Falfa/Ford.
And who comes to his rescue? Among others, Howard, already a veteran of “The Andy Griffith Show,” playing the wholesome Steve Bolander. Steve is more interested in the safety of Laurie Henderson, played by Cindy Williams, but he’s fast on the scene, either way.
The year after “American Graffiti,” Howard would begin starring in “Happy Days,” a hit that spawned the spinoff “Laverne & Shirley” — which starred Williams.
It would take decades longer for Howard to reunite with Han Solo, but with the exit of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, now he’ll get a chance to try to save him again. Of course, he’ll be played by Alden Ehrenreich this time.
Watch the “American Graffiti” video above.