Justin Simien, best known for writing Netflix’s Dear White People and the upcoming Haunted Mansion movie starring Rosario Dawson, was announced in 2020 to be writing a Lando series starring Donald Glover for Disney+. Very little has been said in regards to the series since it’s announcement, but the writer has given us a surprising update.
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The Direct recently spoke with the writer-director who’s our promoting his latest directorial effort, Haunted Mansion. Naturally the topic of Star Wars arose due to Simien being announced to helm Lando three years ago. The Direct state that they brought up the series being announced at Disney’s Investors in 2020 and asked for an update on the project, and the answer Simien gave was surprising to say the least. In response, Simien said that he has “not received an update since that update.” That update being it’s announcement in December 2020.
The Haunted Mansion director went on to add that he “poured his heart” into the Lando project and put together a “great show” that everybody involved with it loved. Simien added that a pause was placed on the series due to scheduling, but that was before the series announcement in December 2020 which had his name attached to the project.
“I certainly poured my heart and spent a lot of time working with them to put together a really great show. It feels like everybody loves it. And, you know, I was told we had to put a pause on it because of scheduling, and the next update I got [was in 2020], some years ago. So I don’t know, I have no idea what’s going on with it.” – Justin Simien via The Direct
I really find it quite strange that the writer of the series has not heard an update on Lando since the series was announced in December 2020 with his name attached, and at the time didn’t even have the star of the show, Donald Glover, tied to it. Simien mentioned that Lucasfilm paused development on the series due to scheduling issues, but it seems as if it was not tied to his schedule at the time and the pause was imposed, which leaves me to wonder if it was due to Lucasfilm’s own release schedule, or more likely, that of Donald Glover.
Glover’s name wasn’t attached to the series upon its announcement, with the rapper-actor confirming his return as Lando Calrissian in the project last year during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. Glover spent most of 2021 filming back-to-back seasons of his critically acclaimed series, Atlanta, with filming on the fourth and final season concluding in February 2022. Since then Glover wrote, directed and produced the series, Swarm, which released earlier this year for Amazon Prime Video. Glover also spent a significant portion of last year shooting the upcoming Mr and Mrs. Smith series which he wrote and stars in for Prime Video also. The Solo: A Star Wars Story star has an overall deal with Amazon to produce content for its streaming service, which has seemingly been his focus over the last couple of years.
Donald and his hectic schedule being the hold up is likely the reason behind the series being paused for such as long time. Last year Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, told CinemaBlend that there had been no movement on the project due to Donald’s other commitments and that he held all the cards.
Glover this year told GQ that he would love to play Lando again, but revealed that he was more precious with his time since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community star added that his time is valuable and that he only wants to work on projects that don’t feel like a waste of time and with people that he enjoys working with. He didn’t offer fans a glimmer of hope as he revealed that the Lando series could be the right project and that he has had talks Lucasfilm, but couldn’t share any details without Kathleen Kennedy “hunting” him down. The Lucasfilm president confirmed to IGN in April that she’d spoken with Glover about the project and that it was still definitively happening.
The comments from Simien does not give me hope of the project coming to fruition – a project I was already doubtful would happen. It appears that since it’s announcement three years ago, Kennedy and Lucasfilm have held conversations with Donald Glover, likely to see when he’s available and if he’s still open to playing the character of Lando Calrissian again, but have not continued to develop for project, or keep in touch with the creatives attached. Glover himself is due to release his Mr and Mrs. Smith series in November, before stepping out in front of the cameras to film the long awaited Community movie. It was also announced that Glover would star in Hypno Hustler for Sony Pictures, with a start of production currently unknown. So it would seem that Glover is still busy for the next couple of years. It’s also worth adding that Disney CEO, Bob Iger, recently revealed that Disney were planning to pull back on their Star Wars and Marvel content, making less content and spending less as part of their cost cutting initiatives.
So with Donald’s schedule, no active development on the series, and Disney looking to make less Star Wars content for its streaming service, the possibility of the Lando series becoming a reality seems less and less likely – at least to me. I’d love to see Glover return as Lando Calrissian one day, maybe even have a hand in the writing, but I’m not getting by hopes up whatsoever and I’d advise most to do the same.
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