Justin Simien, director of Dear White People and Disney’s Haunted Mansion, was set to write and act as showrunner for Lando, the Donald Glover-starring Disney+ Solo spinoff about Star Wars character Lando Calrissian. A couple of days ago, we learned that Simien had been replaced by Glover and his brother Stephen last year. But while doing press for Haunted Mansion, Simien confessed to not knowing any more about the show when asked. In fact, he had no idea he had been replaced until the news hit the web the other day according to a couple of Instagram posts (which have since disappeared because they were in his stories, but Twitter account Okiro has screenshots).
— Okiro (@TheFirstOkiro) July 28, 2023
This is so tacky. I don’t understand why they fired Simien, but worse still, why handle it this way? He has worked with Disney recently, and while Haunted Mansion is evidently not tracking well, that’s hardly the director’s fault. The direction of the cast is one of the film’s highlights, and I can’t imagine why they would unceremoniously drop someone like this. I already knew Disney didn’t know how to treat their park staff, and Bob Iger’s comments about the strikes have been less than encouraging. But now, we know exactly how much they value their writers and directors: not at all. I hope this treatment scares away potential talent, hurting Disney’s business and forcing change within the company. I think a company’s behavior towards its workforce is more important than its output, which in the case of Disney, has been bad lately anyway.
But what do you think? Let us know in the comments!