In the galaxy far, far away, where the Star Wars saga unfolds, there was a time when the universe was envisioned to be darker, grittier, and more intense than what we have become accustomed to. This vision was conceived by James Mangold, who was set to direct a standalone Star Wars film about the infamous bounty hunter, Boba Fett. This film, however, never saw the light of day and was ultimately scrapped, but its shadow continues to intrigue fans and analysts alike.
In a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Mangold opened up about his vision for the movie. The director described his original concept as being “borderline R-rated,” a single planet spaghetti Western that would have been too hardcore for characters like Baby Yoda to be part of. He admits, “At the point I was doing it, I was probably scaring the s**t out of everyone”.
The film was in the early conceptual stages of production when it was abruptly cancelled. This was primarily due to a shift in Disney’s strategy for the Star Wars franchise following the box office disappointment of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”. Rather than continuing with films like Mangold’s, Disney decided to focus on developing TV shows such as “The Mandalorian” to lead the franchise. Mangold stated, “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”.
This redirection towards a more family-friendly tone has been evident in Disney’s Star Wars strategy. Despite exploring darker corners of the galaxy in series like “Andor” and “The Mandalorian,” Disney’s Star Wars TV shows tend to lean towards the more family-friendly side. This includes “The Mandalorian”, “The Book of Boba Fett”, and the upcoming “Ahsoka” series. It seems that blending this lighter tone with Mangold’s vision for an R-rated film would not have been a good fit.
Despite the cancellation of his Boba Fett movie, Mangold will still get another chance to leave his mark on the Star Wars universe. The director is set to helm a Star Wars film that will take place thousands of years before Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. This film will focus on the origin of the Force and the rise of the Jedi. This project is part of the next trio of Star Wars films to be released in either 2026 or 2027, which were announced at the Star Wars Celebration 2023. It’s exciting to see what Mangold will bring to the table with his new project, given his audacious vision for the scrapped Boba Fett movie.
While we may never get to see Mangold’s vision of a darker, more intense Star Wars universe materialize, his bold concept serves as a reminder of the expansive and multifaceted nature of the Star Wars universe. Whether it’s the wholesome charm of Baby Yoda or the grittiness of a lone bounty hunter, there’s something for everyone in this galaxy far, far away.