James mangold

Every fan community has its toxic side. Sadly, ‘Star Wars’ fandom has been showing that side of itself in full force for much of the last several months. This has been evident in the backlash that followed the December release of ‘The Last Jedi’ and only got louder as some in fandom saw the underperformance of ‘Solo’ earlier this summer as a form of vindication. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with disliking a film. The problem is in how one reacts to that. And more and more, ‘Star Wars’ fans are reacting by attacking and harassing actors and directors online.

The latest episode in this sad saga came earlier this week when a Twitter thread that ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ director Christopher McQuarrie had intended as a tribute to ‘Twilight Zone’ host Rod Serling was derailed into personal invective following the arrival ‘The Last Jedi’ director Rian Johnson. Johnson’s treatment lead McQuarrie to remark that he had been “cured” of his desire to direct a ‘Star Wars’ film.

Now another director has added his voice to the growing backlash to the fan backlash. This time, it was James Mangold, who has previously helmed ‘Logan‘ and is currently attached to a Boba Fett-centric ‘Star Wars’ spinoff. Though Mangold did not initially reference ‘Star Wars’ (or any specific franchise), he noted that if contributing to these big properties becomes “the emotionally loaded equivalent of writing a new chapter of The Bible (w/ the probable danger of being stoned & called a blasphemer)”, then studios are more likely to leave their creation to hack writers and directors.

That ‘Star Wars’ was at least on his mind (if not the sole subject of the tweet) was made explicit soon after, when he responded to a fan who claimed that studios had already begun doing just that, saying that “In the case of @rianjohnson and @chrismcquarrie, i assure you these cats are not “owned.” They actually fight your battles behind the scenes.”

For the moment at least, the future of ‘Star Wars’ is something of an open question. While it most assuredly will have a future, the exact shape it will take has been the subject of conflicting reports for the past month, with some sources suggesting that Disney’s planned slate of spinoffs has been indefinitely stalled while others insist that Lucasfilm will proceed as planned.

Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on future ‘Star Wars’ film and television projects as it becomes available.