Never let it be said that the drama behind the scenes on Star Wars isn’t equal to what we see on screen. There may be no flashing of light-sabers or exploding TIE fighters, but the hiring, firing and almost obligatory shake-up in creative personnel has now become par for the course. Gareth Edwards was effectively replaced as director on Rogue One by Tony Gilroy who did extensive re-shoots. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were effectively thrown out the airlock after months of shooting on Solo (replaced by Ron Howard) and Colin Trevorrow was fired from Star Wars IX long before it became the The Rise of Skywalker.
The latest from a galaxy, far, far away is that Game of Thrones helmsmen David Benioff and D. B.Weiss – who were confirmed for a new trilogy of Star Wars films that would expand the story beyond the Skywalker lineage and scheduled to start release in December 2022 – have now departed the Lucasfilm initiative.
Industry site Deadline reports that the split seems to be relatively polite and amicable this time, with the duo citing their obligations to the deal they recently signed with Netflix as taking up too much of their time. The reported nine-figure deal (possibly $250 million) with the streaming platform was announced in August but many questioned how both deals could work in parallel and still be time-effective and it appears that Benioff and Weiss now agree that they don’t have the time to fit in everything on their plate.
“We love Star Wars,” the pair said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” Lucasfilm‘s President Katheen Kennedy confirmed.
Kevin Feige was rumoured to be developing a Star Wars project of his own with Lucasfilm/Disney, though it is not known if the Marvel Studios supremo, who was recently promoted to Chief Creative Officer (now overseeing both the cinematic and televisual arms of the Marvel Universe ) will be too busy himself.
Rise of Skywalker, directed by J J Abrams, will arrive in cinemas in December, but it seems that Lucasfilm/Disney may be eyeing the television screen in the immediate future with the arrival of Disney+‘s The Madalorian next month and the proposed Kenobi mini-series with Ewan McGregor also formally announced.