Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director James Mangold recently shared that he’s not interested in franchise building despite signing on to direct an upcoming DCU film in Swamp Thing and a new Star Wars film.
Mangold was announced as the director for an upcoming Star Wars film at Star Wars Celebration in April.
A press release announced, “James Mangold will take audiences deep into the past, telling the tale of the first Jedi to wield the Force and harness it as a liberating power in an era of chaos and oppression.”
While at Star Wars Celebration he also announced he was writing and directing Swamp Thing during Star Wars Celebration.
He said, “The truth is, I’m writing both right now, and who knows what’s going to happen and what’s gonna blossom first or second? So there’s your thing, I’m acknowledging I’m doing Swamp Thing, there’s your scoop. It’s not a rumor, it’s happening.”
— Collider (@Collider) April 7, 2023
Now, while speaking with Variety to promote the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Mangold says he’s not interested in franchise building telling the outlet, ““I am interested in making something that works from beginning to end — to curtain.”
He added, “Otherwise, I’m working on the world’s most expensive television show.”
To this point, when Variety asked him if he would be interested in continuing the Indiana Jones franchise with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena Shaw character, he said, “I’m not interested. I refuse. I just can’t do it.’
He elaborated, “The amount of lore and Easter eggs and fan service starts to become antithetical to any of this stuff at a certain point. It isn’t storytelling anymore. It’s large-scale advertising.”
Mangold is self-aware enough to realize Hollywood’s focus on franchises is not going away any time soon. Discussing Hugh Jackman’s return as Wolverine he remarked, “I can’t say that there’s a part of me that doesn’t wish that we’d let it be. But there was always going to be another Wolverine.”
He added, “There could be a baby Wolverine and a cartoon Wolverine. As much liquid as they can squeeze out of that rag, they’re going to try to. I don’t measure my success on a movie like Logan with whether we ended the conversation. I ended my conversation.”
When specifically asked about him taking on DCU’s Swamp Thing film, Mangold retorted, “While I’m sure DC views ‘Swamp Thing’ as a franchise, I would be viewing it as a very simple, clean, Gothic horror movie about this man/monster.”
He elaborated that he’s been “toying for years with the idea of making a kind of Frankenstein movie.” He then declared, “Just doing my own thing with this, just a standalone.”
As for Star Wars, he didn’t really have a retort only shared his idea about making the Ten Commandments of the Force, which he previously shared. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “I said, ‘Yes, but it seems like everything you’re developing is continuing forward.”
He then detailed that he pitched “a ‘Ten Commandments’ about the dawning of the Force” while also adding, “It is basically, for fans, a kind of religion. What is it to have found this power and not even understand what it is?”
Mangold previously shared his vision for the film with Gizmodo, “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. nd 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.”
What do you make of Mangold’s comments about franchises, his apparent disdain them, but then his justification for joining some of the biggest film franchises of all time?