Director James Mangold on Hugh Jackman's Return as Wolverine and His New 'Star Wars' Film (Exclusive)

Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold
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The filmmaker behind two of the standalone 'Wolverine' films talks to ET about the actor's return and his new 'Star Wars' film.

After helming two of the Wolverine spinoff films, director James Mangold is excited about Hugh Jackman's anticipated return as the titular X-Men character in Deadpool 3

"I'm thrilled for him to get a chance to play with it again," he told ET's Ash Crossan during the Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London, England. 

The 59-year-old filmmaker directed the final two installments in the Wolverine trilogy, 2013's The Wolverine and Logan in 2017. At the time, the latter was meant to be Jackman's final turn as the superhero after playing him for nearly 20 years across nine different X-Men franchise films

"Whether one way or another, I knew Logan wouldn't be the last time we see a Wolverine movie," Mangold said of the Oscar-nominated installment. "We had our moment to kind of let that movie play and I'm really moved by how much that picture lives in people's memories."  

He added, "You can't put a moratorium on characters." 

James Mangold attends the 'Indiana Jones' and the Dial of Destiny presentation during the studio panel at Star Wars Celebration 2023 at ExCel on April 7, 2023 in London, England. - Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Disney

And that's a good thing considering Mangold has also been tasked with helming Harrison Ford's latest turn as Indiana Jones in the anticipated fifth installment in the film series, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. While it marks Ford's final time playing Jones, it's also the first time since 2008's Crystal Skull, closing out a 15-year gap in the franchise.  

"He's a dear friend and he is an acting legend," the director said of Ford when asked about helping the actor close out this chapter. "To me, when you're working with a character that audiences have such massive affection for, respect must be paid but also choices have to get made. You have to tell something, you can't spend the whole movie in reverence."

He added, "So, you do have a great awareness that you need to bring this plane in for a good landing.. And I hope people think we did that."

While audiences have to wait until June 30 to see what comes of Jones' latest adventure, Mangold already has his next project lined up: a new Star Wars film. Still untitled, the director's project "will take audiences deep into the past, telling the tale of the first Jedi to wield the Force and harness it as a liberating power in an era of chaos and oppression."

"It's the birth of the force. Kind of almost like a religious epic, like Ben-Hur or The Ten Commandments," the director shared. "It's about the start of everything. Like, where does the force come from? How do they utilize it? How did the first Jedi learn how to tame it and bend it?"