Benioff & Weiss Out As Kennedy Ponders The Future Of Star Wars
Winter is coming, but the Star Wars films to be produced by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are not….
Benioff & Weiss Step Away From Star Wars
Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have exited their planned Star Wars series over 18 months after Disney and Lucasfilm first announced they were joining.
“We love Star Wars. When George Lucas built it, he built us too,” Benioff and Weiss said in a statement. “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. But 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.”
The pair were set to write and produce the Dec. 16, 2022, Star Wars film, the first to come after this year’s Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, as well as the rest of the titles in a new series. The series was set to stand separately from one that The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson is working on, as well as the so-called Skywalker Saga being helmed by J.J. Abrams.
Star Wars: So Strange
Benioff and Weiss created quite the kerfuffle when they threw themselves under the bus during an Austin Film Festival event. Laura Bradley of Vanity Fair explained (?):
During the panel, Benioff and Weiss reportedly acknowledged that they had basically no TV qualifications to speak of at the time they landed their HBO deal. That fact alone was not new, but the extent to which that affected their early work was striking. Describing their earliest meeting with George R.R. Martin, Benioff said the author questioned their bona fides, per @ForArya. “We didn’t really have any,” he said. “We don’t know why he trusted us with his life’s work.” The two also apparently admitted to making basic writing mistakes in the pilot, saying, “Everything we could make a mistake in, we did.” That included script, casting, and costume design. Weiss described the experience as, essentially, a very expensive film school; the two didn’t even know how to work with costume designers, for instance, which made the entire thing a huge learning experience. After producing a season filled with 39-minute episodes, the two reportedly said HBO asked for an additional 100 minutes to fulfill their contractual obligations—so they added, for example, a shared scene with Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister, who previously somehow shared zero scenes in the entire season.
The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson seems unsure about the status of his own rumored Star Wars film series; seeing as he flip-flopped on using the word if to describe the project:
Following Knives Out, Johnson has at least one project in the pipeline: In November 2017, Lucasfilm revealed that Johnson, who helmed The Last Jedi, will create a new trilogy of Star Wars films. Any update two years on? “No, I got no update,” he coyly says.
Which doesn’t mean the trilogy has fallen to the wayside. Recently, Star Wars fans speculated whether Johnson was casting doubt on his series actually happening after he said during a red carpet interview that he would be “thrilled if it happens.”
“Did I say ‘if’? Oh god,” he says with a laugh while speaking with ET. “I have no update at all. But I’m still working with Lucasfilm on it, and they’re figuring out when they do what and everything.”
And we’ve run posts here on MickeyBlog.com in which Marvel’s Kevin Feige was said to have stepped into a producers role on a future Star Wars Movie and the Russo Brothers — who just delivered Disney the biggest movie of all time — said, for them, it all started with Star Wars.
So, where does that leave the Star Wars franchise, currently (and officially)?
What’s next in a galaxy far, far away?
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy remarked, “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 comes a month after The Hollywood Reporter exclusively broke that Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige was developing a Star Wars film, a move that drew speculation that perhaps this could be a testing ground for the Marvel Cinematic Universe architect to have a bigger role in a galaxy far, far away in the future. Earlier this month, Feige’s resume got even bigger when he was upped to chief creative officer at Marvel, overseeing the creative direction of Marvel’s storytelling and content creation across mediums including publishing, film, TV, and animation.
Meanwhile, Benioff and Weiss signed a five-year, $250 million overall deal with Netflix in August that was met with envy and a bit of head-scratching, as their commitment to Star Wars would have meant that their new content for Netflix may have taken a decade to come to fruition. The duo have been in high demand since completing Game of Thrones, which swept the Emmy Awards this year with 12 wins, including best drama, but received a divided response from critics and fans.
And, given the graphic nature of Game of Thrones, their inclusion on the future slate of Star Wars movies had some fans concerned about an R-rated delivery of films initially intended for children. Perhaps that was what stalled their project and opened the door for other filmmakers, probably including the varied bunch currently creating the world of The Mandalorian under showrunner Jon Favreau.
After all, after initially hiring Benioff and Weiss, Kennedy said, “We are not just looking at another trilogy, we’re really looking at the next 10 years or more.”
Here’s this blogger’s very, very humble take: Look for an announcement including the Russo Brothers (and Feige), soon; a clarification on Johnson’s status; followed by news from The Mandalorian camp that a name like Taika Waititi or Bryce Dallas Howard will take on a future Star Wars film, as well. Oh, and there’s always Disney+ to fill in the gaps.