LOS ANGELES: Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard said Saturday directing a movie in the ‘Star Wars’ universe was as daunting as making his Beatles documentary thanks to the intense fan love.

Howard, 64, who made the acclaimed ‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week’ (2016) about the peak years of the Fab Four, told a news conference in southern California he felt just as much pressure on ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’

“The level of anticipation is unlike anything that I’ve done. You fall into it and it’s amazing. It was a little bit like the Beatles documentary that I took on,” said Howard, who won directing and producing Oscars for ‘A Beautiful Mind’ (2002).

“I could tell from the moment it was announced, ‘Ron, don’t (mess) this up.’ So I immediately felt the same thing with this, the fans care and they should care.”

‘Solo’, which gets its US release on May 25, charts the adventure-filled past of smuggler Han Solo before he was the galaxy’s most adored scoundrel.

The second of three planned spin-offs from Lucasfilm, it follows ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,’ the second highest grossing movie worldwide in 2016.

The latest episode sees Han meet his mighty future co-pilot Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and encounter the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), in a journey that sets the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

“It’s really wild. It’s really exciting and it’s bigger than you can wrap your head around. Particularly being in the Millennium Falcon, is very cool,” said Alden Ehrenreich, who stars as the titular hero.

“You get in and you can’t believe you’re in it and it’s so surreal. And then, a couple months into shooting, you’re inside of it, you’re flying it, you know where the buttons are and you’re like, ‘Okay, this feels like my ship now.'”

Ehrenreich, 28, revealed a special treat: original Han Solo actor Harrison Ford surprised him during promotional interviews for the movie on Saturday by approaching to offer fulsome notes on his young protege’s performance.

“It’s a huge deal to have him genuinely love it. It meant a lot to me that he took the time to come out here and do that. It was awesome,” Ehrenreich said. — AFP

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