EXCLUSIVE: Gareth Edwards has exited Godzilla 2. I’m told the split was an amicable one for Legendary, Warner Bros and Edwards, who helmed the first film in the series in 2014 and promptly signed on to direct Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which looks from the trailer like it will be a strong next step for that franchise. Edwards has his own gestating projects he wanted to pursue, and they are smaller in scale than the back-to-back tentpole-size pictures he is directing with the Godzilla launch and then the Star Wars spinoff. Max Borenstein wrote the current version of Godzilla 2, which was dated this week for release March 22, 2019.

Edwards and Legendary had agreed to him stepping out before the picture’s date was set.

Legendary and Warner Bros are looking for a director to replace Edwards as they also work on Godzilla Vs Kong, which has been set for release on May 20, 2020. The latter film was made possible when Kong: Skull Island was brought back from Universal to Warner Bros, where Legendary made Godzilla. Legendary acquired rights to additional classic characters from Toho’s Godzilla universe including Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah.

All this paves the way for developing a franchise centered on Monarch and anchored by Godzilla, King Kong and other famous creatures.