“Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have stepped away from the “Star Wars” franchise, after being attached for more than a year to develop a new trilogy of films beyond the Skywalker Saga. Their series of films were slated to have begun in December 2022.
In a statement given to Deadline, the duo said, “We love ‘Star Wars.’ When George Lucas built it, he built us, too. Getting to talk about ‘Star Wars’ with him and the current ‘Star Wars’ team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything… There are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both ‘Star Wars’ and our Netflix projects. So we are regretfully stepping away.”
IndieWire has independently confirmed the veracity of Deadline’s report with Lucasfilm.
On August 7, Benioff and Weiss signed a $200 million megadeal to develop new projects with Netflix, which made their creative plates very full. Some fans had been grumbling about the prospect of their “Star Wars” trilogy in the aftermath of the widely criticized final season of “Game of Thrones,” even though that final season did go on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, among others.
As of October 25, Disney had staked out release dates for untitled Star Wars films in 2022, 2024, and 2026. In an earnings call earlier this year, just before the “Game of Thrones” finale, CEO Bob Iger said that those dates were for Benioff and Weiss’s trilogy — they had previously been announced as developing a trilogy in February 2018.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson, who’s set to debut his critically acclaimed “Knives Out” on November 27 following a successful premiere at TIFF in September, is still attached to a trilogy of his own. Both Johnson’s trilogy and that of the “Game of Thrones” creators were intended to focus on entirely new characters, stand apart from the Skywalker saga (which is concluding December 20 with “The Rise of Skywalker”), and possibly take place in previously unexplored parts of the “Star Wars” timeline.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy’s statement to Deadline seemed to leave the possibility of the team’s return at a later date: “David Benioff and Dan Weiss are incredible storytellers. We hope to include them in the journey forward when they are able to step away from their busy schedule to focus on ‘Star Wars.’”
The news of Benioff and Weiss’ departure comes just hours after Lucasfilm debuted a second, longer trailer for their first-ever live-action series, “The Mandalorian,” which will launch with Disney+ on November 12.