The world of entertainment can be unpredictable, with projects undergoing changes and shifts that sometimes leave original creators in the dark. Such is the case with the Disney+ “Lando” series. Justin Simien, the original writer and showrunner for the series, recently expressed that he’s yet to hear from Disney regarding the decision to replace him, despite the project’s announcement almost three years ago.
A Shift in Direction
In July, reports surfaced that Donald Glover and his brother Stephen Glover had taken over the writing responsibilities for the “Lando” series. These reports were the first time Simien had any inkling about changes to the project. He shared these updates on social media, showcasing his support for Donald Glover. However, his disappointment was evident, given that he hadn’t received any official updates directly from Disney.
Simien commented, “It was the first time I had gotten any official confirmation at all about what was happening with [Lando].” He further added, “You’d certainly, like, hear rumors. It’s a small town. Donald Glover and I have a lot of mutual friends. So I had some idea of possibilities of what might be happening and why we haven’t heard from anybody.”
Despite the unexpected turn of events, Simien remains a fan. “The good news is that I’m a huge fan — truly, genuinely of Donald Glover, and particularly the work that him and his brother do. So I’m also happy to just be a fan and watch it, and sort of get to experience it the way an audience would, because it’s certainly what I wanted to see when I said yes to the project.”
A Pattern Emerges
Interestingly, Simien had been collaborating closely with Disney on this year’s “Haunted Mansion.” While Disney oversees this project and also holds the rights to Star Wars, the communication gap seems more directly linked to Lucasfilm than Disney in its entirety.
Simien’s situation isn’t unique. He reflected on how renowned filmmaker Guillermo del Toro recently discussed an abandoned Jabba the Hutt project. Del Toro had also been previously attached to develop a “Haunted Mansion” movie. Simien noted, “I’m seeing Guillermo del Toro making the rounds [online], who also was attached to the Haunted Mansion incidentally, at a certain point, talking about his Jabba the Hutt movie that didn’t get made. There’s a pattern, isn’t there? And at least I’m not alone in this situation.”
Simien’s sentiments resonate with many creators who’ve poured their heart and soul into projects, only to find out through articles or rumors that their vision is being taken in a different direction. He candidly expressed, “I don’t know if I want to do that again. That doesn’t sound fun to me at all.”
The entertainment industry, with its ever-evolving dynamics, often presents challenges for creators. While changes are inevitable, clear communication remains crucial. As the “Lando” series progresses under new leadership, one can only hope that the essence and vision that Simien initially brought to the table will be honored in some form.