Late Monday night, Deadline reported that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are stepping away from Star Wars and are no longer moving forward with their previously announced slate of films in the galaxy far, far away.
Benioff and Weiss, the showrunners behind the massively popular Game of Thrones TV series, said in a statement to Deadline that they love Star Wars, are indebted to Star Wars, and had the thrill of a lifetime talking Star Wars with George Lucas and the current Star Wars crew, but they said that other obligations mean they can’t proceed with making Star Wars movies. They recently struck a big deal with Netflix, so presumably they couldn’t wait until the early-to-mid 2020s to begin with Netflix – thus meaning Star Wars got left behind.
Disney had previously announced that the first film from Benioff and Weiss would be the next big-screen foray into Star Wars after The Rise of Skywalker, with a release date of December 2022. Obviously, that won’t be the case any more, but Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy did keep the door open for an eventual collaboration with Benioff and Weiss, saying to Deadline that, “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.”
So certainly all of this seems very friendly in the departure, and on the surface there doesn’t appear to be a nasty split between the two sides. And while angry Youtubers who hate Disney’s Star Wars will certainly use this as further evidence that everything is falling apart (and let’s be real: they would have found reasons to hate these movies even had they been made), most Star Wars fans I’ve observed seem actually relieved by this news. Many Game of Thrones fans were furious with how the show ended, pinning much of the blame on Benioff and Weiss (since they no longer had the source material to work with), and a recent thread going around on Twitter of comments from the two of them raised even more questions about how much credit they actually deserved for the show’s success in the first place. So with all of this going on in recent months, I think it is a bit too convenient for them just to be moving on from Star Wars to Netflix without other stuff going on behind the scenes.
Regardless of what actually happened, though, I’ll say this much: I’m actually totally find with this. I was never overly excited about Benioff and Weiss’ series of films, and I’m hoping that this just fast tracks Rian Johnson’s trilogy all the more. Johnson understands Star Wars at such an important and fundamental level that I absolutely cannot wait to see where he takes this universe in his trilogy of movies, and I really hope that with this news it means that Johnson’s first film will take that 2022 slot. That’s what I’m really hoping for.
And besides, Kathy Kennedy has plenty of projects in the works, so it’s not like Benioff and Weiss stepping away leaves Lucasfilm in a bind. Rian Johnson is developing a brand new Star Wars trilogy, and Kennedy is working with Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige to produce another Star Wars film. Plus, there are live-action shows like The Mandalorian, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, the Cassian Andor series, and likely others in the works. There’s the animated Star Wars Resistance, and I imagine that will be followed by a new animated show too – plus of course a final season of The Clone Wars next year. And these are just the projects that we know of.
The future of Star Wars is incredibly bright, and I couldn’t be more excited knowing that people like Kathy Kennedy, Rian Johnson, Dave Filoni, and others are leading the charge into this brand new era of Star Wars storytelling.