Decisions Determine Destinations: Exclusive Interview With Ron Howard For SOLO #HanSoloEvent

Thanks to Disney I was able attend the #HanSoloEvent in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.


Wearing all black – black jeans, shirt, leather jacket and a baseball cap, we all applauded as Ron Howard walked in the room and sat down at our table.   


Photo Credit: Louise Bishop

I have always been impressed with Ron Howard, first as an actor and over the years as a director.  He’s so easy going and confident, his demeanor was inspiring.  His comedic but educational charm came shining through during the entire interview and he gave us a bit of Opie.  When asked, what do you think little Opie Taylor would think of the Millennium Falcon he said, “I think he’d probably say, gee pa, can I take a ride?”  It was awesome, we all broke into huge smiles and cheers. It was a great and led to a beautiful group photo.


Photo Credit: Louise BIshop

As we sat in that large and slightly chilly conference room and listened to Ron describe how he landed the role as director of SOLO: A Star Wars Story.  He said,

Well it really came out of a conversation that I was having with Kathy Kennedy. It was just a scheduled breakfast appointment that I had with her.  At the end of breakfast, she asked if Larry Kasden could come. I didn’t know that there was any conflict, any creative differences going on with the project at all. I read the script and I, I was so compelled by that script. And it, it went from there.” 

This answer really set the tone of the entire interview for me.  It was so interesting that it just kind of fell in his lap over breakfast.  That was very impressive and spoke to the quality of his work for sure.  So, I wasn’t surprised when we were discussing his challenges when directing the movie and he said,

George Lucas had said to me just trust your instincts. I think you’re going find you’re comfortable in this filmmaking style. And he was right.”

He had the courage to allow the cast to be themselves and I believe it was due to the confidence he had in his directing ability.

When asked, “How did Han Solo dying in The Force Awakens affect how you directed this film?”  He answered,

I thought it was very powerful in that movie. And, and it also reflected the kind of complexity, the thematic ideas that I think give the Star Wars movies their lasting value. But it also has these themes that, that are, are complicated and, and run deep, you know?”

 And when your survival is at stake and you’re presented with choices that you might not necessarily be proud of.  It’s not just the Han Solo character, it’s a number of characters. There this is a story about young people who are really on a quest for their freedom. And they’re struggling for that in very difficult oppressive times.  I think knowing the outcome gives the story of young Han Solo even more power and more weight.”


Photo Credit: Disney/Lucasfilms

I’m sure you are anxious to hear why those comments are bolded? I thought how wonderful it is to know the end at the beginning.  If that were true in real life, perhaps our lives, families, communities, and this world would be much better.  Especially since I am guilty of having made decisions that I was not proud of.  And while the choices of the characters in SOLO were concerning actual life or death, I wondered if my decisions carried the same weight as well. 


You see, I want to be an example for my son Chance.  I want him to know that his decisions truly determine his destinations.  And while I am sure he will make some not so good decisions, I would love for those decisions to be lessons as oppose to obstacles.  If you know what I mean.  I am a lot like Ron Howard, I was working to direct a movie involving a lead character that looks a lot like myself.  And in doing so, I can have an enormous effect on others around me…including my son.  Unfortunately, I can’t turn back the hands of time but I can tell my story in a way that gives creditability to healthy decision making and life lessons to those undesirable outcomes.


I think it is important to talk about our choices and decisions when we are in stressful situations.  Be it a diagnosis of cancer, an eviction notice, a loss of a job, not enough money to buy food for your family, or you’re like Han trying to escape a life that no longer serves you…how we respond is critical.   I’ve learned to slow down and lean on logic and not my emotions when making decisions. Why? Because I’ve found that:

  • When I am really excited or nervous about something, I am less likely to consider risks.
  • When I am not happy with myself or a situation I tend to settle and set low expectations for myself and can result in me not reaching my full potential.
  • Emotional choices or decisions can lead to rash decisions and become self-destructive.

Ron knew that if he helped the audience to understand the struggle and challenges that Han faced, we would be able to appreciate the past and future Star Wars films better.  It certainly worked for me and helped me place perspective on my own unhealthy past decisions.  In just a few days on May 25th, you can go see SOLO: A Star Wars Story for yourself and you will see this amazing story that Ron spoke of for yourself.

In the meantime, I would love to know how you dealt with “survival mode” choices or decisions and how it impacted the outcome of your life.   Please share your thoughts about this post and share it with those in your circle that need to hear it.

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