Justin Simien Says He Still Hasn’t Heard From Disney About Donald Glover Replacing Him on ‘Lando’

The “Dear White People” creator tells TheWrap that finding out on social media “was and remains the only official word” on the studio’s decision

Justin Simien, Donald Glover (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Justin Simien, Donald Glover (Photo credit: Getty Images)

“Haunted Mansion” director Justin Simien has still not heard from Disney about Donald Glover and Stephen Glover replacing him as writer on their streaming “Star Wars” series-turned-movie, “Lando.”

In a recent interview, he told TheWrap that the news article he saw on social media announcing the decision “was and remains the only official word I ever heard about my involvement on the project.”

He added that he did get “an appraisal of the script I wrote,” but the studio has otherwise not been in touch.

Back on July 27, Simien took to his Instagram Stories and shared a news post reporting that the Glovers were the new “Lando” writers as “Justin Simien exits.” In a caption above the post, Simien wrote, “This is me finding out right now.”

In a second Instagram story, the director expressed that Glover is a “national treasure” and that he was excited to see the duo take on the project, saying: “Can’t wait to see. Rooting for everybody Black.”

Justin Simien Wishes Donald Glover Well on Lando Series
Justin Simien on Instagram

As TheWrap previously reported, Simien’s departure from “Lando” could have been connected to him being tasked with directing the LaKeith Stanfield-led remake of “Haunted Mansion,” which made its debut in theaters July 28. Nevertheless, Simien thought he was still attached to the film, and the news report was the one and only information he’d received from Disney. However, the “Dear White People” creator did have some indication that he was being replaced.

“It was the first time I had gotten any official confirmation at all about what was happening with [‘Lando’],” Simien said. “You’d certainly, like, hear rumors. It’s a small town. Donald Glover and I have a lot of mutual friends. So I had some idea of possibilities of what might be happening and why we haven’t heard from anybody.”

Simien then compared his experience with “Lando” to Guillermo del Toro’s incident with his Star Wars movie, “The Rise and Fall of Jabba the Hutt.” Del Toro was originally established as the director for the film, but he shared in October that the movie was axed.

“I’m seeing Guillermo del Toro making the rounds [online], who also was attached to the ‘Haunted Mansion’ incidentally, at a certain point, talking about his Jabba the Hutt movie that didn’t get made. There’s a pattern, isn’t there? And at least I’m not alone in this situation,” Simien said. “But I would say, I don’t know how it went [for del Toro] — I don’t know why anybody would sign up for that again, to sort of like pour your heart and soul into something, and then to wait for several years, and then find out in an article that someone else is doing it. Yeah, I don’t know if I want to do that again. That doesn’t sound fun to me at all.”

At the end of the day, Simien cemented his previous comments praising the Glovers, sharing that he looks forward to seeing their vision.

“The good news is that I’m a huge fan — truly, genuinely of Donald Glover, and particularly the work that him and his brother do. So I’m also happy to just be a fan and watch it, and sort of get to experience it the way an audience would, because it’s certainly what I wanted to see when I said yes to the project,” Simien said.

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