James Mangold’s Star Wars Movie Could Solve a Lightsaber Mystery

A rejected Star Wars pitch is back, and the franchise’s most iconic weapon is intimately involved.


Star Wars has gone through years of shifting and restructuring in an attempt to find cinematic success. Colin Trevorrow, Patty Jenkins, and Kevin Feige were all announced to be spearheading movies, only for those projects to later be backburnered or reworked with little fanfare.

Perhaps the most infamous of these projects belonged to Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. However, after the disastrous final season of Game of Thrones, Deadline reported the two were leaving the project, citing busy schedules. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of their upcoming Netflix series 3 Body Problem, Benioff and Weiss revealed their pitch for The First Jedi, a movie Benioff described as portraying “how the Jedi Order came to be, why it came to be, [and] the first lightsaber.”

We’ve seen the rise and fall of the Jedi, but we’ve never glimpsed their beginnings. Now, a new Star Wars movie is poised to not only show the Jedi’s ancient origins, but also answer some of the biggest questions surrounding the franchise’s most iconic weapon: the lightsaber. Benioff and Weiss just won’t be working on it.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were given a major Star Wars deal, then left it.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

According to Benioff, the idea of looking back at the Jedi’s beginnings wasn’t what Lucasfilm wanted. “We had a very specific story idea in mind, and ultimately they decided they didn’t want to do that,” he said. “And we totally get it. It’s their company and their IP, but we weren’t the droids they were looking for.”

Now, however, the Star Wars universe will visit the beginnings of the Jedi after all. At Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced three different Star Wars movies: a Rey-focused sequel from Ms. Marvel’s Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a New-Republic-based TV show tie-in movie from Dave Filoni, and a “biblical epic” about the beginnings of the Jedi from Logan director James Mangold.

The prequel movie, Dawn of the Jedi, sounds almost exactly like the idea Benioff and Weiss pitched. There will certainly be differences beyond the big idea, but we may still see what the duo teased after all, including the building of the first lightsaber. While there is other source material — the non-canon comic series Dawn of the Jedi ran from 2012 to 2014 — it’s hard not to see this upcoming movie as a different take on Benioff and Weiss’ concept.

Xesh, a human enslaved by the Rakata, was one of the first forcesaber wielders.

Dark Horse Comics

Dawn of the Jedi revealed the lightsaber — or forcesaber, as it was known then — was invented by the Rakata, an ancient alien species among the first people to wield the Force. The Je’daii Order, a precursor of the Jedi Order, combined this technology with new forging techniques to create The First Blade, the first true lightsaber, which was featured in the now non-canonical Knights of the Old Republic game as an ancient artifact.

While the lightsaber would take millennia to refine and become the go-to weapon of the Jedi, the alien origins of the weapon would make perfect fodder for a Star Wars movie. While Benioff and Weiss won’t be the ones to bring that to the big screen, maybe Mangold will pick up the forcesaber and run with it, or at least draw a little inspiration from existing source material.

Benioff and Weiss don’t hold a grudge, and Kennedy said in a statement that Lucasfilm would be open to working with the two again, but this shows just how tumultuous Star Wars’ creative direction has been. A Jedi origins picture was unwanted in 2019, and that exact premise was announced four years later. At least fans will have some idea of what they’re in for.

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