Yesterday The Hollywood Reporter released a large article focusing on director James Mangold and his upcoming movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. The piece is filled with interesting tidbits focusing on the films production, his past work and even those in his future, but there was one piece of information that stood out to me – Mangold acknowledging and seemingly confirming past rumours that he was working on a Boba Fett film.
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Though there’s no direct quotes of the Logan director discussing his Boba Fett movie in any depth, there’s a one line quote in the article where James Mangold confirms he, “more than flirted”, with working on a Star Wars movie in the past, with the article itself detailing that Mangold had previously been developing a Boba Fett film several years ago that would’ve been a one off, likely A Star Wars Story release akin to Rogue One and Solo, and the flick was described as a spaghetti-western in the vein of Sergio Leone, a highly decorated Western filmmaker responsible for classics including the Dollars trilogy. Mangold confirming his involvement with a Boba Fett film comes as bit of surprise as in 2021 Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, told Empire Magazine , “Jim Mangold never worked on a Boba Fett story.”
It was reported in 2018 by The Hollywood Reporter that James Mangold was both set to write and direct an untitled Boba Fett film for Lucasfilm, following the departure of Chronicle’s Josh Trank two years earlier. The report at the time detailed that Mangold was co-writing the Boba Fett flick with Simon Kinberg, writer of various X-Men films including X-Men: Dark Phoenix and X-Men: Apocalypse, along with being a producer of Star Wars: Rebels. Kinberg and Mangold had previously collaborated on the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated Logan, which Mangold wrote and directed, with Kinberg onboard as a producer. At the time Lucasfilm were focusing on releasing the Star Wars sequel trilogy and were developing various Star Wars anthology films, at the time of the report Lucasfilm had only released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but we’re gearing up to release the commercial failure, Solo, and were developing other anthology films such as Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, which at the time had Stephen Dauldry set to direct.
Kathleen Kennedy told Empire in 2021, ahead of the release of the Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett, that there was “virtually no previous development” on a Fett flick with Josh Trank, who was set to be announced as a director on a Boba Fett film at Star Wars Celebration in 2016, but was pulled last minute and let go from the project. In the same interview, Kennedy added that James Mangold “never worked on” a Boba Fett idea, but the latest piece from THR seems to contradict the quote from the Lucasfilm president. The contradiction follows another from earlier this year where Kennedy claimed that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Lucasfilm “never discussed” an idea for his Star Wars film, and that the reports of Feige developing a Star Wars film was only announced by the press and “fandom”, despite Disney’s Chief Creative Officer, Alan Horn, confirming Feige was developing an untitled Star Wars movie in September 2019, with Loki writer Micheal Waldron confirming last year that he was writing Feige’s Star Wars flick, and directing duo, The Russo Brothers, recently confirming that Feige had previously approached them to direct his Star Wars project. The Feige project has since been scrapped.
It’s also worth mentioning that in July of 2018, two months after the initial THR report that Mangold was developing a Boba Fett film alongside Simon Kinberg, the Logan director himself seemed to deny the report. One fan expressed their dislike of the idea of a Boba Fett flick to Mangold on Twitter, with the director hitting back saying that he was currently in production on Ford vs. Ferrari, his critically acclaimed movie which released in 2019, and that “No Mandalorian’s” were involved and advised the the fan to stop reading gossip. At that point the THR story was two months old, Solo had bombed at the box office, and Lucasfilm were seemingly re-thinking their anthology Star Wars stories. Ultimately a Boba Fett movie and an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie, two films that were planned to sport the A Star Wars Story tag, were never made and both eventually became television series on Disney+, with Lucasfilm and Disney seemingly feeling series for their upcoming streaming service at the time was likely a better outlet for their anthology stories.
I think it’s most certainly likely that by July of 2018 there was no further development on the idea Mangold might’ve had or been working on in regards to a Fett movie. I think his words of the time were most certainly true. At the time it seemed a lot had changed in regards to the anthology movies due to Solo’s performance. The THR article from May of 2018 released ahead of Solo, and it’s likely at that point Mangold had most certainly “more than flirted” with developing the Boba Fett movie for Lucasfilm. I believe Mangold’s acknowledgment of the THR article from 2018 in their most recent piece is the director confirming that all those years ago he was working on the idea, with THR adding more details on what the vision of the Fett project was, details they didn’t have in 2018 and it’s likely due to the conversation had with Mangold for the 2023 feature.
During the latest THR piece, Mangold recounts Kennedy approaching him during the production of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, asking if he still retained an interest in developing a Star Wars movie. Mangold notes that he did, but at the time Lucasfilm were looking to continue forward with their stories, likely a reference to the untitled Rey Skywalker movie being directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel) set after the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and possibly the now indefinitely delayed Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, which too was rumoured to take place after the sequel trilogy. Mangold told Kennedy that he wanted to visit the past and create a film that focused on the “Ten Commandments”, the discovery of the Force and the creation of the first Jedi. The project was announced at Star Wars Celebration in April this year and was described as the “Dawn of the Jedi”. In the THR article, Kennedy states that Mangold will begin writings his untitled Star Wars flick once the Writers Guild of America strike is over, with THR adding that James Mangold won’t turn his attention to his Star Wars movie until he has completed work on his upcoming Bob Dylan biopic, A Complete Unknown, which Mangold has been working on since before stepping onboard to write and direct Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in 2019. A Complete Unknown is due to begin filming in August, but filming could be delayed due to the aforementioned ongoing WGA strike. However, despite Mangold being prohibited from working on his Star Wars project due to the strike, and his A Complete Unknown schedule, James Mangold already has a basic treatment “laid out in his head” according to Kennedy.
James Mangold’s latest effort, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, hits cinemas on June 30th.
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