In a big Star Wars shakeup, Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff exited their planned trilogy in what was just the latest loss of top talent for the sci-fi series. At the time, it was believed that the pair’s commitment to Netflix was partly the reason they stepped away, but it appears that isn’t the whole story.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Weiss and Benioff had been thinking about leaving Star Wars since August. That was when the pair signed a five-year, $250 million deal with Netflix to create new movies and TV shows for the streaming network. At the time, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy was reportedly “unhappy” about the deal with Netflix, which Weiss and Benioff are said to have signed just before they were due to start working on their Star Wars movies.
The report goes on: “Kennedy was not convinced the pair–known for focusing on one project at a time–could develop a sci-fi trilogy while also overseeing film and TV projects at Netflix. Sources say that as the duo shopped for an overall deal over the summer, they told potential suitors that they planned to work on Star Wars concurrently with any projects under their new deal.”
It was also reported that Kennedy became nervous over the idea of Weiss and Benioff sharing time between Star Wars and the Netflix projects. Netflix reportedly required Weiss and Benioff to physically be on set for their projects.
Weiss and Benioff became just the latest top talent to quit or be fired from high-level Star Wars creative posts. Disney fired Chronicle director Josh Trank from a Star Wars movie in 2015, while the company also removed directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord from Solo: A Star Wars Story during development in 2017 (Ron Howard was later brought on). Also that year, Disney parted ways with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who was due to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. The 2016 movie Rogue One also faced some trouble, as Tony Gilroy was brought on to rewrite and re-shoot some of Godzilla director Gareth Edwards’ standalone movie Rogue One.
The entire story at The Hollywood Reporter is very fascinating and incredibly in-depth, offering a lot of insight and context on the matter–you should read the whole thing here at THR.
The official line on the matter is that Weiss and Benioff did not feel comfortable splitting their time between Star Wars and Netflix. “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,” Weiss and Benioff said. “So we are regretfully stepping away.”
The new Star Wars trilogy is not the first casualty related to Weiss and Benioff signing with Netflix. Their controversial HBO show, Confederate, was also killed off after the pair signed for big money with Netflix.
While the new Star Wars trilogy from Weiss and Benioff is finished, Disney is still moving forward with another trilogy of new Star Wars films from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. There is no word on if Lucasfilm plans to greenlight a new trilogy of Star Wars films to replace the three movies that Weiss and Benioff were expected to make.
The next Star Wars movie is this December’s The Rise of Skywalker, which wraps up the entire Skywalker Saga that began back in 1977.