Just under a year after he was announced to direct a pic in the Star Wars franchise, Chronicle and Fantastic Four reboot helmer Josh Trank has left the Galaxy far far away. “After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path,” said he said today.
“I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities,” he added. “That said, the Star Wars universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow Star Wars fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.”
“It was a privilege to collaborate with Josh. We are grateful for the energy and love of Star Wars that he brought to the process, and we wish him all the best,” said Lucasfilm VP Development Kiri Hart in a post on the Star Wars website today.
Friday’s public news comes amidst a packed series of dates for both Trank and the revived Star Wars franchise. The untitled second Star Wars Anthology movie is set to be released in 2018. The Trank-directed new Fantastic Four pic from Fox is scheduled to come out Stateside on August 7. The J.J. Abrams directed Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, the first of the new Star Wars films from Disney, comes out December 18. The first stand-alone Star Wars: Rogue One, directed by Garth Edwards, is hitting the big screen at the end of next year.
Despite the warm public words from Trank and the Disney-owned Lucasfilm today, sources say tensions had been growing for several weeks on the project. Strains that were rendering the director’s ongoing participation with the film a dead end. The first glimpse into how Trank’s role on the Star Wars project had shifted into the red, so to speak, may have been revealed last month. On April 19, the director was a sudden no-show at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. Disney said Trank was sick and a tweet from the director later that day repeated as much.
Hey all. So, so, so sad to have missed today. Worst flu of my life. I hear it went beautifully with Gareth. Here’s to next year. #SWCA
— Josh Trank (@joshuatrank) April 19, 2015
Obviously now we know that the Force was not so strong with that one for other reasons too and perhaps the process of separation had begun then. Even with the old school method of dumping out bad news on Friday, there is no word on who will replace Trank on the project. But there is no doubt there’ll be a no shortage at all of aspirants to the director’s chair.