A few days ago we learned Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would no longer be delivering us a new Star Wars trilogy after ending their relationship with Lucasfilm. The duo’s new lucrative deal with Netflix and associated time constraints were reported as being the driving factors behind them leaving the GFFA after Lucasfilm announced their first film from Benioff and Weiss would be released in 2022.
New reports from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter aim to shed more light on this business decision. While we may truly never know all the exact details about what led to Benioff and Weiss leaving Lucasfilm, these reports do offer some interesting pieces of information on their departure. Take each respective link for more from each trade.
Benioff and Weiss had ambitious plans to take the “Star Wars” universe in a new direction, one that would exist apart from the Skywalker family saga that comprised the franchise’s centerpiece nine-film series. The “Star Wars” period the pair was interested in exploring was how the Jedi came to exist. However, Lucasfilm executives and the creators begin to see their visions for the films diverge during meetings last summer. News that the pair had signed a massive $250 million production deal with Netflix was a signal to many that they were eager to explore other opportunities. It also brought pressures. When the pact was announced, Netflix said it was aware of the duo’s commitments, but insiders say they were also wary of waiting as much as four years for them to wrap up work on “Star Wars.” The streaming service wanted Benioff and Weiss to focus on creating exclusive movies and shows for them, particularly when they looked out at a streaming landscape that is growing ever more competitive with the launch of Disney Plus and HBO Max.
Benioff and Weiss said Monday that they were caught in the push-and-pull that came with juggling one of the world’s biggest movie franchises and the $250 million Netflix deal they signed in August. “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 [from Star Wars],” read their joint statement.
While there is some truth to their stated reason for parting ways with Lucasfilm, insiders say there is more nuance to the story.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Benioff and Weiss’ exit has been brewing since August. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy is said to have been unhappy with the Netflix deal, inked just as they were scheduled to begin work on Star Wars. (Benioff and Weiss had said multiple times that they would not turn their focus to Star Wars until production wrapped on the final season of Thrones, which ended in July 2018.) 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.