This weekend, Ron Howard’s Solo is hitting theaters, but Disney and Lucasfilm are already lining up one of the next standalone Star Wars films — and per a new report, it will focus on one of the franchise’s most beloved villains. According to The Hollywood Reporter, writer-director James Mangold is working on a movie focused on none other than Boba Fett.
Rumors of a Boba Fett movie have circulated for years, but Mangold would make a particularly strong choice for this kind of project. His varied career has taken him from dramas like Cop Land and Girl, Interrupted to westerns like 3:10 to Yuma, but genre fans will know him best as the writer-director of the Wolverine swan song Logan. That film brought an unexpected emotional depth and sadness to the character, which could make Mangold particularly well-suited to crafting a story around Boba Fett.
While the character has been a fan favorite since his big-screen introduction in The Empire Strikes Back — he first appeared in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special — as far as movie franchise canon goes, there isn’t much to go on. Boba Fett had only a handful of lines in Empire, and he was promptly killed in the first act of Return of the Jedi. In the Star Wars prequel films, it was revealed that Boba Fett was a clone of his “father” Jango Fett, and presumably embraced his darker impulses after seeing Jango Fett killed by Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). While the character has been explored in the franchise’s expanded universe, that’s otherwise a pretty clean slate for movie audiences.
The larger strategy for the Star Wars franchise, with its mix of saga and standalone movies, has seemed a little scattershot at times. But with the Boba Fett news, things seem to be coming into focus. Along with this film, Lucasfilm is also said to still be developing a standalone movie focused on Obi-Wan Kenobi, with Stephen Daldry in negotiations to direct. That infers that the standalone movies will continue to follow in the footsteps of Solo, focusing on established characters from the franchise in order to build out the universe. Meanwhile, J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars: Episode IX, which will wrap up the traditional “Skywalker saga.” After that, Star Wars is looking to explore brand-new territory, with original trilogies in the works from The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson, and Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.