“Fantastic Four” director Josh Trank announced this evening that he is leaving the untitled “Star Wars” spin-off anthology film he was set to direct for a 2018 release. Here’s his statement from the Star Wars website:
“After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the Star Wars universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow Star Wars fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.”
Trank was recently a no-show at the “Star Wars” Celebration, which lead to speculation that he was indeed leaving the “Star Wars” universe. Rumors have persisted for months that he had a difficult road on his current gig on “Fantastic Four” with 20th Century Fox. THR adds some fuel to that fire, suggesting producer Simon Kinberg, also an exec producer and story consultant on the greater “Star Wars” universe, was having cold feet about working with him again. Variety suggests the same (though probably talking to the same source), saying the duo “clashed” during the making of upcoming Marvel superhero movie and that they “weren’t happy about working together again.”
If so, that news doesn’t bode well for Trank’s participation on the “Fantastic Four” sequel already set for 2017. Details on the anthology film were never released, but rumors pegged the film to be about Boba Fett (though they said the same thing about Gareth Edwards’ ‘Rogue One,’ and that’s turned out to be something completely different).
With the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” arriving later this year, “Star Wars: Rogue One” landing in 2016, and Rian Johnson‘s “Star Wars: Episode VIII” coming in 2017, it was assumed Trank’s standalone film would have hit in 2018. Of course, that date would have surely conflicted with “Fantastic Four 2,” so the filmmaker would have had to choose between projects. But Trank’s decision to leave sounds unrelated.