UPDATED with more details, clarification: As the ninth and final film in the original Star Wars series looms, Disney and Lucasfilm are stepping up big time to continue Hollywood’s most iconic film franchise. They just unveiled that HBO’s Game of Thrones masterminds David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been set to write and produce a new series of movies set in the galaxy.
The deal will see the new films as separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, which just bowed Star Wars: The Last Jedi in December, and also separate from the recently announced trilogy being developed by Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson.
Like the Johnson trilogy announced in November, no release dates have been set for the new films. The next movie in the Star Wars franchise is the second stand-alone pic, Solo: A Star Wars Story directed by Ron Howard, which bows May 25.
Star Wars: Episode IX, to be directed by J.J. Abrams, has a December 20, 2019 release date.
On Disney’s first-quarter earnings call after the Benioff-Weiss news went public, chairman and CEO Bob Iger was asked why the pair weren’t doing a Star Wars-centered series (like the one being developed for Disney’s new OTT service). “Their interest was in creating Star Wars films,” Iger responded. “We’ve been talking with them for some time. They didn’t express interest in a series.” He added that the pair was focused on “a particular point in time in the Star Wars franchise” with the new movies.
“David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in making the announcement today on StarWars.com. “Their command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting.”
Said Benioff and Weiss: “In the summer of 1977 we traveled to a galaxy far, far away, and we’ve been dreaming of it ever since. We are honored by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of Game of Thrones is complete.”
Game of Thrones is now in production on its final season, with six supersized episodes in the works aiming for a 2019 run to wrap its runs. Work also is under way on five proposed GoT prequels of the Emmy-winning fantasy series.
Benioff and Weiss are repped by CAA, Management 360 and Gretchen Rush.