EXCLUSIVE: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the duo who in 2011 launched the singular screen sensation known as Game of Thrones, have walked away from their much-publicized deal with Disney’s Lucasfilm to launch a feature film trilogy in 2022.
Benioff and Weiss were supposed to usher in the post-Skywalker era of the Star Wars brand with a 2022 new-start story that would stake out a new frontier for the era-defining cinema brand created by George Lucas. The Emmy-winning pair cited their historic deal with Netflix. They said their enthusiasm for Star Wars remains boundless but, regrettably, their schedule is full.
“We love Star Wars,” the pair said in a statement to Deadline. “When George Lucas built it, he built us too. Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything.”
That 2022 release date made the Benioff-Weiss startup the next-in-line Star Wars installment following this December’s The Rise of Skywalker, the final chapter of the Skywalker family chronicles that have been captivating moviegoers since 1977.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has plenty of other Star Wars projects in the hopper — The Rise of Skywalker on December 20, The Mandalorian in 15 days on Disney+ and the ramping up of the Ewan McGregor series, to name just three — so it’s unclear how much of a setback the now-nixed trilogy presents. There’s also no shortage of upcoming collaborators lined up, among them Rian Johnson and Kevin Feige.
Kennedy didn’t close shut any doors in her sendoff statement on Monday: “David Benioff and Dan Weiss are incredible storytellers. We hope to include them in the journey forward when they are able to step away from their busy schedule to focus on Star Wars.”
Clearly, it’s a big-fizzle ending for the firecracker-fuse headline from February 2018 when the deal was announced. But the duo’s deal arguably lost some luster during the much-maligned final season of Game of Thrones earlier this year as many fans questioned whether the GoT creators had the storytelling chops to handle a Jedi saga.
In the end, however, it appears the tandem’s deficiency was in time, not talent. In August, Deadline broke the news that the GoT duo had signed a nine-figure deal with Netflix, and on Monday, that commitment was the one that brought about the end of the Great Westeros Experiment by Disney and Lucasfilm.
“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,” the GoT pair said in a statement to Deadline. “So we are regretfully stepping away.”
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