Game of Thrones creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have chosen to quit the Star Wars universe to dedicate themselves to their Netflix deal for new series and films. In a prepared statement, the duo said Tuesday: “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. 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.”
Deadline first brought word of the new development on Star Wars, which counts as yet another behind-the-scenes setback for its Disney-owned studio Lucasfilm. The first film from Benioff and Weiss — slated for December 2022 — was set to usher in the new era of Star Wars after the Skywalker saga ends this December with Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. But with the Game of Thrones duo walking away, that series will need new people at the helm, as has been the case for earlier Star Wars projects including anthology films Rogue One and Solo, and The Rise of Skywalker itself, all of which have been through director changes at various stages of production.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy didn’t address that future just yet, though she is keeping the door open for a possible Benioff and Weiss return somewhere down the line: “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.” It’s unclear if the series itself has a future, given Lucasfilm has plenty of more Star Wars projects lined up, from the likes of The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, in addition to series centred on Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor from Rogue One, and Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Before all that, we’ll get the first-ever live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, out November 12 on Disney+, followed by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, out December 20 in cinemas worldwide.