When Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced that James Mangold was developing a new film for the Star Wars franchise, she used the term "Dawn of the Jedi" in order to convey how far back into the galaxy far, far away's history the story would be taking place. Because of how far back in time the adventure will be set, Mangold himself recently cast doubt on the script even using terms like "Force" or "Jedi," as it will seemingly be in such infancy that the characters wouldn't have names to describe either the mystical connection between living things or a label for an organization adopting certain teachings.
"I don't wanna make any guarantees one way or another, but it will be before Jedi, meaning you might be experiencing something that might become Jedi," Mangold replied to the Happy Sad Confused podcast about whether the film will use those terms. "Despite the fact that other people make movies other ways, I don't tend to think people brand themselves before they've actually found themselves. So you don't come up with a name for your organization ... 'Let's put this big thing on our chests.' I think that the branding tends to happen later."
Even though Mangold has directed films like Logan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, both of which have connections to sprawling franchises, he detailed how he aimed to go so far back into Star Wars' history that he can make a standalone story as opposed to having to be hindered by connecting narrative tissue.
"When I talk to some of the Star Wars clerics who keep track of all these timelines, I was like, 'So when would this have happened?' and they were like, '25,000 years before Episode I.' And I was like, 'Oh, I was looking for some distance, but that's distance,'" the filmmaker joked. "The reality, for me, was that feeling of space, pun not intended but apropos, was something that I felt was really important. Not to get away from -- again, fan service or the intricacies of what George [Lucas] has set up and dreamed of, but to just have the space to tell a story and not be instantly encumbered by the bases you have to hit. Which, honestly, there's no way to explain it to folks other than to say it's like that game we played as kids, Twister, that at a certain point, you're in a tangle because you just are trying to find a way to tell a story with so many constraints that you can't."
George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company back in 2012 and has largely stayed out of the way of filmmakers and the studio telling stories in the franchise. Mangold pointed out how he has yet to talk to Lucas about what he aims to explore with his film, though also noted how he aims to explore the boundaries of what people might expect for the saga.
"I have not had a chance to talk to him at all about what I'm thinking. He was involved and read the script and was a Ford v Ferrari fan, I'm told, but it would be very interesting to talk to him," Mangold divulged. "I'm very protective of myself, in the sense of ... Even describing meeting Bob Dylan in relation to the Dylan film, I like to have my sh-t together before I get into those kinds of situations. Because every good idea skates at the very edge of being precipitously awful. And every safe idea never gets towards that edge. So the trick is always to develop your idea enough that you're compatriates and consultants and mentor can understand how you're avoiding going over the edge, not just daring it."
James Mangold's film is one of three confirmed Star Wars movies on the horizon, though it doesn't have a confirmed release date.