Ron Howard crossed “Star Wars” with “Arrested Development” and it works surprisingly well

I don’t know what I expected.
I don’t know what I expected.
Image: Lucasfilm
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To a small but passionate group of people, the American filmmaker Ron Howard is best-known not as the director of Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story—but rather for providing the famously sarcastic narration for the cult comedy series Arrested Development. Now, those two worlds are colliding.

The official Star Wars YouTube account posted a video of Howard narrating a recap of Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope in the style of Arrested Development, complete with witty asides and running gags from the show. Though plainly a marketing stunt for Howard’s imminent Han Solo film (and perhaps the well-timed recent announcement that Arrested Development will return to Netflix soon for a fifth season), the crossover video is better than it has any right to be.

Fans of the Star Wars films and Arrested Development—and especially those of us who love both—will appreciate how well the wry, meta humor of the series about a deeply dysfunctional family fits into the world of legendary, but often zany, space saga.

“Who is she?” Luke Skywalker asks the first time he sees Princess Leia. “She’s beautiful.”

“She’s his sister,” Howard interjects.

The video includes a number of Arrested Development inside jokes, like “Mr. F” and quick flashes of former Major League Baseball player Pete Rose sliding head first into second base whenever awkward sexual situations are brought up. It helps that Luke’s unwitting infatuation with his sister Leia has a parallel in Arrested Development: the hilariously uncomfortable crush George Michael (Michael Cera) has on his cousin, Maeby (Alia Shawkat).

Howard wasn’t originally supposed to direct Solo: A Star Wars Story, but came on as an emergency replacement after purported creative differences with Lucasfilm forced the directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller off the project. The film will be released May 25.