Don’t be surprised by Ron Howard directing a ‘Star Wars’ movie. His connection began 45 years ago.

SOME “STAR WARS” fans were surprised by the news. Within days of Lucasfilm firing Phil Lord and Chris Miller as directors of next year’s untitled young-Han Solo spinoff film last week, Ron Howard was chosen to step in.

The hire might have raised some eyebrows — why did an accomplished producer-director like Howard want to take on such a challenging, high-stakes rescue project midstream? But to anyone who knows Howard’s history with “Star Wars,” his interest rings as entirely natural.

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