Iconic ‘Star Wars’ bounty hunter Boba Fett made a big return to our screens with ‘The Mandalorian’ and linked series ‘The Book of Boba Fett’. But if director James Mangold had had his way, the character would have relaunched into the pop cultural consciousness via a movie.
Except… it didn’t quite work out that way. Though it was never officially announced, reports surfaced back in 2018 about Mangold’s attachment to a movie about the character originally introduced in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and who had appeared to meet an ignominious end in the belly of the Sarlacc creature in ‘Return of the Jedi’.
Yet later that year, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy said later that year that it wouldn’t come to fruition.
So, what happened?
The problem with Boba
Two big factors contributed to the end of the Boba Fett film. First, ‘The Mandalorian’ was in development, and had its own take on the character. And, as we all know, it became a huge sensation, a jolt of nostalgia that also charted new stories and introduced the cute merchandising factory that is Baby Y… Sorry, Grogu… into the world.
Secondly, as it turns out. Mangold was going for a mature approach to the character, which is perhaps not all that shocking given his work on ‘Logan’, which did something similar with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. And that was an issue for Lucasfilm, which was looking for family friendlier offerings…
Here’s what Mangold told the ‘Happy Sad Confused’ podcast about it:
“At the point I was doing it I was probably scaring the s**t out of everyone. I was making much more of a borderline R-rated, single planet spaghetti Western. They probably would never be able to embrace Baby Yoda if I had made that. It didn’t really belong in the world I was kind of envisioning.”
And Mangold went further into the contrast between his ideas and the Lucasfilm regime’s:
“In a moment of corporate realignment or whatever happened with the Han Solo movie, they just suddenly decided they weren’t making pictures like that, and the opportunities in streaming presented themselves. I was just listening to [spaghetti Western composer] Ennio Morricone all day, all night, and typing away. I’m not sure it ever would have happened. I’m not sure it was in anyone’s plans, what I was thinking.”
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The future for Mangold and ‘Star Wars’
No-one needs to feel bad for Mangold, though. He was instead handed the chance to direct ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ for Lucasfilm, which has just arrived in theaters.
And the company is clearly happy with what he did on that movie because Mangold will be getting a second shot at ‘Star Wars’ with a new movie set many years before the Skywalker saga that explores the early days of Force users.
Mangold said this about the new movie to io9:
“When I mentioned to [Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy] the idea that I had about going backward –– really far backward –– I was surprised that it excited her and the other wonderful people she works with at Lucasfilm. For me, it’s about, I want to be part of the saga, but I also don’t want to be holding so much lore in the air that you can hardly tell a story. And what I really wanted to do, what I told her, was just can we make a kind of the ‘Ten Commandments’ of the Force, you know? A kind of origin story of how the Force came to be known, understood, wielded, and harnessed.”
There’s no release date set yet for the movie, though depending on how development progresses, it may end up taking one of the recently announced Disney schedule slots.