While the future of the Star Wars franchise on the big screen is mostly unclear beyond the release of the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, we have at the very least known about three distinct developments: the trilogy being planned by Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson; the feature being developed by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige; and the trilogy being made by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Well, now that list has been whittled down to two, as Benioff and Weiss have apparently backed out of their Star Wars deal.
This news comes to us from Deadline, which says that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are no longer planning to tell big screen stories set long ago in a galaxy far, far away because of the recent blockbuster development deal that they made with Netflix. What makes this significant is that the Star Wars trilogy they were working on wasn't just a project in the early stages and without a firm plan. The first movie was supposed to be this first post-Skywalker Saga era movie released, scheduled to come out on December 16, 2022.
There are many reasons why this news is interesting, but the one that sticks out is that this is far from the first time in the modern era of Star Wars that we have seen issues arise with filmmakers hired to direct these movies. J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson seemingly didn't have any issues making Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but every other feature that has been developed since Disney purchased Lucasfilm has had some kind of issue with directors. With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, for starters, there were reports about Tony Gilroy taking the helm on extensive reshoots for the project instead of Gareth Edwards. Josh Trank, you might remember, was hired to make a Star Wars project and then fired amid all of the Fantastic Four drama, and Colin Trevorrow was initially signed on to make the final movie of the Sequel Trilogy before Abrams was given the reins again.
And, of course, fans will not soon forget all the drama involved in the making of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which saw Phil Lord and Chris Miller get fired months into production and get replaced by Ron Howard.
This situation seems to be different than most of those, as it sounds like David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' split from Disney and Lucasfilm was amicable. But it's also possible that we're only hearing politics right now, and that a bigger story about what's going on could emerge in the coming days. Time will tell on that front.
Now the big question is how Disney and Lucasfilm will pivot following this turn of events. The good news is that they definitely have time on their side, as their next film from this franchise won't have to go into production until late 2020 at the earliest to make that aforementioned December 2022 date. But what will that project now be? Will either the Kevin Feige project or the Rian Johnson trilogy wind up getting fast-tracked now that the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss movies aren't happening? And what will it mean for the December 20, 2024 and December 18, 2026 dates that have already been carved out for Star Wars films? If they were meant for the Benioff and Weiss sequels, is it possible that any number of potential ideas could be slotted in instead?
Right now we have way more questions than answers, and hopefully we'll get a clearer picture of what's happening soon. Of course, given the secrecy that's constantly surrounding the Star Wars brand, you definitely shouldn't expect any forthcoming update that will plainly explain what the next few years of Star Wars is going to look like.
While we wait for more information, of course, we still have plenty of Star Wars on the way. The debut of The Mandalorian (which just launched an amazing new trailer earlier tonight) is scheduled for the launch of Disney+ on November 12th, and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker will be playing in theaters everywhere on December 20th.