And now their watch has ended. Embattled writers and producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff walked away from their Star Wars trilogy, according to a late-breaking report. This could be a setback for the team at Lucasfilm/ However, the response from people still bitter about how the final season of Game of Thrones broke its best characters is, in a word, jubilant. While this is not confirmed, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff seemed to rush the show to an end with their Star Wars trilogy and Netflix deal on the horizon.
Only now, their supposedly busy schedule just loosened up quite a bit as they are no longer committed to drafting a new trilogy of films. What makes this a problem for Lucasfilm is that theirs was the first Star Wars film to hit theaters after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and James Cameron’s first Avatar sequel. The release date for their film was to be in December of 2022.
The Official Story About Why D.B Weiss and David Benioff Exited Their Star Wars Trilogy
Image via Walt Disney
Unfortunately for Lucasfilm, the final trailer for The Mandalorian was supposed to be the big Star Wars news on Tuesday. However, Deadline broke the story almost two hours after the preview for the Disney+ series aired during Monday Night Football. Featuring statements from both Weiss and Benioff as well as Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, this is no mere rumor. With all involved being gracious professionals, the official statements don’t really do much to explain what happened.
As Benioff and Weiss said, via The Hollywood Reporter:
“We love Star Wars. 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. But 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.”
It’s unclear if since they were still so early in development Lucasfilm allowed the two to save some face. Rather than cite the “creative differences” used to justify the ouster of Colin Trevorrow, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the two blame their schedule. Yet, they only just signed their Netflix deal, while they’ve been attached to Star Wars for some 18 months already. Their many detractors online will suggest that this is clearly a secret firing. However, the statement from Kathleen Kennedy may suggest otherwise.
As Kennedy said, via Deadline:
“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.”
There’s a lot interesting about this statement in relation to D.B. Weiss and David Benioff leaving their Star Wars trilogy behind. When other directors have been fired from their Star Wars projects, Kennedy certainly complimented them. However, she made clear that the directors’ relationship with Lucasfilm ended. Yet, in this statement, she leaves the door open for them to apparently return to the project.
Though, this offer comes with a Death Star’s worth of shade. It certainly reads as sarcasm when she says “step away from their busy schedule to focus on” the project at-hand. Given Kathleen Kennedy’s reputation as a no-nonsense producer who is not to be trifled with, if Benioff and Weiss were unable or unwilling to deliver their scripts, she’d have no qualms about letting them go. She may have said that the door is still open for them to write a Star Wars story, but only time will tell if that is sincere (or a limited-time offer).
Some (Educated) Speculation On Why Benioff and Weiss Really Left Star Wars
Image via Lucasfilm
There are two possible reasons D.B Weiss and David Benioff are no longer making their Star Wars trilogy. In an earnings call in 2018, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that the two writers approached Lucasfilm to pitch an idea. Lucasfilm liked it, and they two signed on to write and produce the series of films. The company apparently had such faith in the idea that they slated it to be the next Star Wars saga on the big screen. Following the Skywalkers, regardless of individual feelings on the sequel trilogy, is a huge feat. They would have had to bring their A game.
Yet, in the wake of Game of Thrones ending, the two have seen their stock drop rapidly. Fans were upset at the show, but they still are lauded for the accomplishment. Yet, Benioff’s first project (without Weiss) since was the much-maligned by reviewers Gemini Man. Now, with Netflix projects in the percolator, they are working with one of Disney’s (or, at least, Disney+’s) biggest competitors.
Update: Report Suggests ‘Fandom Toxicity’ Played a Role
Competing deals alone are not enough to end a Star Wars relationship, evil if Lucasfilm wasn’t happy about it. J.J. Abrams took Bad Robot to WarnerMedia (arguably a more direct competitor to Disney), and he’s likely going to have a hand in Star Wars forever. What may have pissed off the Lucasfilm folks is not their Hollywood clout but rather that they had their priorities screwed up. Instead of focusing on getting the trilogy complete, their focus was elsewhere. After 18 months, much of which was spent finishing up Game of Thrones, it seems unlikely that even a single script is finished. So, it’s possible that they just weren’t delivering for Lucasfilm the way they (or Disney) expected them to.
A new report suggests that D.B. Weiss and David Benioff left their Star Wars trilogy behind because of “toxic” fans. The harsh backlash in the wake of The Last Jedi rattled them, it seems. Their movies would explore the beginning of the Jedi order. Unraveling that mystery is something they may not really want. If they missed the mark, it could be devastating personally and professionally.
Thankfully, after being promoted by Marvel Kevin Feige will apparently still have plenty of time in his busy schedule to produce a Star Wars film instead.
What do you think? Share your theories about why David Benioff and D.B. Weiss bailed on their Star Wars trilogy in the comments below.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.