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Major film franchises build powerful followings of deeply invested fans. While this can be a good thing, director James Mangold is worried that fan backlash to those franchises could have unintended consequences. The man who took on the X-Men franchise, and has recently been announced as the director of a future Star Wars movie, took to Twitter to warn that if taking on these major titles becomes too much for the most creative and innovative filmmakers, those people will simply choose not to do so, leaving the franchises to lesser creatives.
One has to assume that James Mangold has Star Wars very much on his mind right now. Recently, it was announced that he would be directing the long-rumored spinoff movie about Boba Fett, but the state of Star Wars is very confused right now and that is in large part due to the people behind the franchise being figuratively stoned by some fans. A vocal contingent is still seemingly angry about Rian Johnson's take on the franchise with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and following the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, some have been calling for Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy to resign. Mangold certainly sees the potential for the same to happen to him, as Boba Fett is, for reasons passing understanding, a really popular character, and if Mangold does something with the character fans don't like, he's likely to hear about it.
Fans are certainly passionate about the movies they love and nobody would argue that's a bad thing. Fans are also welcome to dislike any given film, it happens. Sometimes filmmakers take risks and sometimes they work out, and sometimes they don't, but James Mangold clearly believes that if the failures end up becoming such a problem that nobody wants to take any risks at all, we'll end up with a bunch of corporately produced "safe" movies and we'll lose the chance to see the films that become great because they took chances.
James Mangold probably knows what he's talking about. A film like Logan was clearly a risky venture. A dark, R-rated version of a story starring a character who spent over a decade as a PG-13 comic book hero. Logan was a massive success that almost everybody seems to love, but if the studio had been afraid to take a risk, it's unlikely we ever would have seen it.
We're already beginning to see the potential of something like this maybe happening. While there have been conflicting reports, it appears that all of the Star Wars spinoff films, including the one James Mangold was supposed to direct, may bein limbo right now, as the negative response to Solo: A Star Wars Story has Lucasfilm less sure what to do going forward. Hopefully, they'll find a direction that still allows writers and directors to be creative. We may get some movies we don't like, but that should be balanced by the ones that do something truly special.