James Mangold, the writer and director of an upcoming untitled Star Wars movie set tens of thousands of years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace which will see the discovery of the Force and first ever Jedi, is currently on the promotional circuit for his latest effort, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and during the run the topic of his exciting new Star Wars movie has arose.
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The Logan director has today featured on the popular podcast, Happy Sad Confused hosted by Josh Horowitz. The bulk of the interview naturally revolves around Indiana Jones, but Mangold discussed his upcoming Swamp Thing movie for DC Studios, his scrapped Boba Fett film which you can read about here, and of course his upcoming ‘Dawn of the Jedi’ Star Wars project. Mangold was asked about what appealed to him having a movie set so far away from the various Star Wars trilogies and series, with the writer-director explaining that the idea of having so much space is appealing to him and that having such distance from the various canon Star Wars series and films allows him to tell a story where he doesn’t feel constrained.
“When I talk to the Star Wars clerics that keep track of all of those timelines, I was like, ‘So when would this have happened?’ and they said ‘25,000 years before episode one’. I was like, ‘Oh I was looking for distance, but that’s distance.’ I’ll do it. I might find Charlton Heston in an abandoned subway station with some vapes, but I’ll do it. But the reality for me was that feeling of space, pun not intended, but apropos, was something that I felt was really important. Not to get away from fan service or the intricacies of what George [Lucas] had set up and dreamed of, but just have the space to tell a story and not be instantly encumbered with the bases that you have to it. Honestly there’s no other way to explain it to folks other than to say it’s like that game we played as kids, twister, at a certain point you’re in a tangle because you’re just kind of trying to find a way to tell a story with so many constraints that you can’t.” – James Mangold
As the conversation progressed in regards to his upcoming Star Wars movie being set so far before The Phantom Menace and the film focusing on the origins of the Force and the first Jedi, the podcast host asked if Mangold had or would be looking to have conversations with Star Wars creator, George Lucas, given Lucas’ existing lore in regards to the Force and Jedi. Mangold revealed that he has not spoken with Lucas at this time, and likely wouldn’t for quite a while due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, but added that before presenting the Star Wars creator with his idea and treatment, he wants to protect himself and make sure that he’s developed the project enough before bringing it to Lucas.
“I have not had a chance at all to talk with him [George Lucas] with what I’m thinking on this [Star Wars movie]. He was involved and read the script [for Indiana Jones] and was a ‘Ford v. Ferrari’ fan I’m told. I am, but it would be very interesting to talk to him. I mean, I’m a little protective of myself, even in the sense of meeting Bob Dylan in relation to the Bob Dylan film [A Complete Unknown], I like to have myself together before I get into those kind of situations. Every good idea skates on the edge of being precipitously awful and every safe idea never gets toward that edge, so the trick is to always develop your idea enough so that your compatriots, consultants and mentors can understand how you’re avoiding going over the edge and not just daring it. Obviously as a writer I am on strike right now, so those solutions in that process is not going to happen right now.”
As the Star Wars conversation began winding down, the Happy Sad Confused host asked if we’d hear the words Jedi, Force or Midi-chlorian mentioned in the film. The Dial of Destiny sort of shot down the idea of those terms being used, pointing out that ‘branding’ would likely come later, but that the audience would experience something that would become known as Jedi.
“I don’t want to make any guarantees one way or the other, but it would be before Jedi. Meaning you might be experiencing something that might become Jedi. Despite people make movies in other ways, I don’t tend to think people brand themselves before they’ve actually found themselves. You don’t come up with a name for your organisation before (laughs), let’s put a big thing on our chest, I think branding happens later.”
James Mangold’s Star Wars movie currently doesn’t not have a release date, but is expected to be released in December 2027. Mangold next effort, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny releases in cinemas tomorrow, June 30th.
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