Losing the Director: When Has It Happened Before?
Start writing a post

Losing the Director: When Has It Happened Before?

When a director is fired from working on a movie, what is the end result?

Losing the Director: When Has It Happened Before?

It was widely reported that Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired by Lucasfilm over creative differences on the upcoming untitled Han Solo Star Wars spin-off, and were replaced by Lucasfilm alumni Ron Howard. Earlier in the year, Zack Snyder stepped down from directing Justice League and Joss Whedon came in to take over – though in Snyder's case, he wasn't fired, but had to leave the project because of personal reasons. However, Whedon is directing the already planned reshoots and additional scenes, whereas Lord and Miller still had at least three weeks of filming left, plus the reshoots. Now, we are not entirely sure what Ron Howard will be doing, be it going back to the start and filming everything, redoing some scenes, or even just picking up where they left off. This is not unprecedented, as there have been several occasions where a director is fired and replaced with someone who will do what the studio wants. From famous movies to box office bombs, this has happened many times before and will happen again – and the best examples come from two very different superhero movies, made in two different eras.

Most notably, Superman II was being filmed within the same timeframe as Superman in 1977. The intention was to release the two movies a year apart, so that there would be as little of a gap between them as possible. However, Richard Donner, who was set to direct the two, was constantly under the review of the producers, and when Donner was going too far over budget, a relatively unknown Richard Lester was brought in to help guide production. As time was starting to run out, as the effects needed to be completed, Donner was instructed to focus more on the first film and pick up on the second one after the first one came out. He did so, but not without some footage already being shot for the sequel – including all the scenes involving Marlon Brando. When Superman came out in December 1978, it was a massive success, revitalizing the character and proving another Superman film would be profitable. It is still unknown why exactly Donner was fired, with different people giving different stories, but when production resumed on Superman II, Richard Lester was completely in charge, scrapping much of the 75% of the Donner footage. This caused a massive fallout with several actors, such as Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman – Hackman refused to return for reshoots, partially due to another commitment and the whole “we fired the director because we could” reason, and was replaced with a body double. Brando, however, sued the producers over the change and received a massive cut of the profits from Superman. For petty revenge, Brando's character was completely cut and never even mentioned again in the following three films – his scenes were later restored for the 2006 Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, which took the completed Donner footage and selected other scenes from the 1980 Lester cut, forming what many have said to be a vastly superior film. It should also be mentioned that John Williams could not return to compose the music, as he was committed to another 1980 project, The Empire Strikes Back, and that Richard Donner's wife, Lauren Shuler Donner, went on to produce the Marvel Comics X-Men series of films.

More recently, there was the controversial production on the 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four. After the highly praised found footage film Chronicle, the film's director, Josh Trank, was being courted for several projects in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Marvel had cemented themselves as one of the most successful film companies in the world, having completed “Phase One” of the MCU. 20th Century Fox, who owned and produced the X-Men franchise, was running out of time on the contract involving the rights to Marvel's “First Family,” the Fantastic Four – and doing a sequel was practically out, as Chris Evans was now portraying Captain America in the MCU. To keep rights, they put a full reboot of their 2005-2007 films into production, hiring Josh Trank to direct, and write the script along with Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater. The script was rumored to have the planet eater Galactus as the main villain (not unlike 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer), but the studio wanted something smaller – so rewrites were done, following the studio's demands. Once production began, however, Trank saw that he was not hired to actually direct, but do what the studio said to do and just call “action” and “cut.” This led to him constantly fighting with lead actor Miles Teller, reportedy destroying a hotel room, and showing up to the set drunk. During filming, the script's ending was rewritten, and Fox executives felt the film was too much like Chronicle (which was why they hired him in the first place), so they ordered extensive reshoots without Trank, bringing in Simon Kinberg. Kinberg was not credited, and his role has been downplayed to the point of it even being debatable whether or not he directed it, or it being somebody else (Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn are the other rumored names).The original Josh Trank cut was also heavily edited, removing entire storylines and dramatic moments, and bringing the runtime to just over an hour and a half. As reviews came in for the film in early August 2015, it was hovering around an 8% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, some saying it was even worse than Catwoman or Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Trank said on Twitter that he did once have a “fantastic” version of the film, and made it very clear that he did not like the final product. Actor Toby Kebbell, who portrayed Doctor Doom in the movie, backed up Trank's statement. Recently, more rumors are coming out about yet another Fantastic Four reboot, though there is a relatively large fan movement to get the characters returned to Marvel for use in film, or a deal not unlike Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Like with any job, directors can be fired for whatever reason – though more often than not, it's because they aren't working well with the executives. Sometimes that can work out – Superman II was not a bad movie by any means, but then again, there's the completely inconsistent Fantastic Four. We really won't know what is going to be the end result of the untitled Han Solo movie, but it's not like they got just anyone to come in – Ron Howard is a talented filmmaker and has said he wants to work with what Lord and Miller had, then do what he feels is best after. Which really, is the best way to do it. Instead of scrapping the previous director's work, see what they did that was great, and fix what wasn't. That way they aren't just pretending that footage was never made, but being able to take the two and make a good product. Until 2018, we won't know, but we can at least hope.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

10 Songs That Made It Onto My September Playlist

September is the month for Los Angeles natives and Australian music fans.


The Neighbourhood, Bad Suns and The Driver Era are three Los Angeles bands that released songs this month. Not only was it a month for Los Angeles bands, but many Australian bands released new music — San Cisco's fourth studio album, Surf Trash single, Skegss single, and High Tropics single. I made new discoveries this month and was pleased by the amount of new music.

Read the listicle below to learn what came out this month in alternative rock music:

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

7 Things Your Partner Can Do To Support You When You Have PCOS

Don't be afraid to ask for help or comfort if you need it.


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may not be totally visible to the eye, which makes it a lot harder for your partner to understand what's going on with your body.

If you are in a relationship, it's important that you communicate your PCOS symptoms with your partner. I say "your" symptoms specifically because everyone's symptoms are different.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Watched 'The Social Dilemma' And YIKES, I'm Terrified For The Next Generation's Mental Health

Millennials can remember a time without online social affirmation, but we may be the last ones.

The Social Dilemma / Netflix

I've been in a media job for the entirety of my professional career. From part-time social media internships to full-time editorial work, I've continued to learn how to tell stories, write catchy headlines, and keep people interested. I believe working in media is a big responsibility, as well as a valuable way to advance our world.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

One Indictment, Three Charges, And No Justice For Breonna Taylor

We can't settle for this decision or a system that is fundamentally broken and unequal.


On March 13, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her apartment by police who were executing a "no-knock" warrant. Since then, there have been rallying efforts both in the streets and on social media demanding justice for Taylor and keeping her name known.

Keep Reading... Show less

I’m OK With Hooking Up On The First Date, But That DOESN'T Make Me Easy

2020 has been a crazy year. And yet, women being comfortable with our bodies still seems to be a big topic in mass media.


I'm an adult. There is no reason I can't have consensual sex with someone on the first date. It does NOT make me easy, and it does not mean I'll have sex with just anyone the first time I meet them.

Keep Reading... Show less

I was so excited to vote in my local primary election in August. I eagerly researched my local candidates, combed the newspaper for profiles and policy positions, and shared infographics on Insta about voting deadlines. I considered myself a keen voter.

Keep Reading... Show less

Nothing! There is no reason to feel guilty about food and nourishing your body. It's time to make peace with food and stop focusing on the "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong" because food does not have power over you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down With An Endocrinologist To Ask All My Questions About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

There are so many moving parts of hormonal health, so I went to an expert.

Anjanette Tan

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts approximately 1 in 10 women. Any woman who has PCOS can attest to the fact that no two cases are the same — there are so many aspects of hormonal health that can impact a woman's reproductive health! For many, PCOS is a trial and error condition, with many doctors' appointments depending on the stage of life the woman is in.

This week I sat down with Dr. Anjanette Tan to get the expert opinion on all my PCOS questions. Dr. Tan is a board-certified endocrinologist who's worked in private practices since 2004. She currently works at the Diabetes and Thyroid Center of Fort Worth, one of the largest all-endocrine practices in the area, where she is the managing partner and head of clinical research.

Keep Reading... Show less

This $40 Silk Sleep Mask Gives Me The Best Sleep I've Ever Had — I Never Go Anywhere Without It

Crane And Canopy just redefined the meaning of "beauty sleep".


- Since I can remember, I've always been a light sleeper, with the quietest sounds waking me up, and I regularly wake up with the sun.

- While talking to a gynecologist friend of mine, she mentioned the importance of using an eye mask for quality sleep, which regulates hormonal levels.

- I was serendipitously sent the Crane & Canopy Silk Sleep Mask almost right after that conversation and was honestly reluctant to try it after testing other sleep masks that felt uncomfortable and irritated my skin.

- This sleep mask was extremely comfortable, and for the first time in nearly a decade, I slept in far past when I usually do on the weekends and woke up feeling more refreshed than I can remember — I've worn it nearly every night since then.

The older I get, it seems that sleep becomes an increasingly important topic of conversation amongst my friends and me. Yes, of course we complain about how tired we always are, but the pattern seemed to be a lack of sleep on the weekdays followed by late nights and sleeping in on the weekends without any solution.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

The Self-Care Kit Every College Student Should Have Handy In 2020

Make sure you have everything you need to relieve some tension.


As college students, sometimes life can be overwhelming. Four tests in a week and you only passed one of them? I feel that. Days like that, you just need time for yourself. A time where you're nice to yourself and put your own self-care before anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments