Ron HowardAfter the official announcement that Ron Howard is taking over directing duties on the Han Solo movie, the "Apollo 13" director tweeted that he's always been a big "Star Wars" fan and that he's "beyond grateful" to be working in the "Star Wars" universe.

He also said (very graciously) that he hopes to add to the "great work" already done by just-fired co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

In speaking at the Cannes Lions fest, Howard elaborated on the prestigious new gig, joking that it was a "little opportunity that came my way."

Deadline reports that he was among the first to hear about George Lucas's groundbreaking movie while on the set of "American Graffiti." (As everyone has pointed out, a movie that costarred the future Han Solo, Harrison Ford.)

"I've been around the 'Star Wars' universe from the beginning," Howard told the crowd, saying he asked Lucas in 1972 on the "American Graffiti" set, "'Do you know what you think your next film might be?' And he said, 'Yeah, I want to do a science fiction movie, but a really fun one like 'Flash Gordon' with the effects of Stanley Kubrick's '2001.' I thought, 'That sounds like a kind of crazy idea.'"

He and his wife Cheryl saw "Star Wars" the day it opened, saying they were "so moved by the movie. It was all the things you dream you're going to experience in the movies." He added that despite standing in line for two hours to see it, they immediately got back in line and waited another 90 minutes to see it again.

"So many people involved with the 'Star Wars' franchise are friends, so it's gratifying to be able to lend my voice to the universe — coming in when it's already been in production and there is a great amount of work done," Howard said.

For what it's worth, neither Lord nor Miller have tweeted anything since the news broke.

categories Movies