Reported Reasons Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Left Star Wars Worry Me About the Franchise’s Future
More details are spilling out about why HBO’s Game of Thrones showrunners. D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, have exited their planned Star Wars project, and it seems like there was some concern over their lack of experience, plus their Netflix deal.
According to sources who have spoken to The Hollywood Reporter, Benioff and Weiss’ exit from Star Wars had been brewing ever since they signed their $250 million Netflix deal. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy was allegedly unhappy about the Netflix deal, because it came just as they were scheduled to begin work on Star Wars. In fact, the two writers went to visit George Lucas (probably to George R.R. Martin him) sometime in the summer to pick his brain about their ideas for their trilogy.
Since Benioff and Weiss had to “focus” on Thrones in its final season, they weren’t going to turn focus to Star Wars until after that was done. However, that reportedly concerned Kennedy, who was not convinced that the two, known for “focusing” on one project at a time, could develop a Star Wars trilogy while also overseeing film and TV projects at Netflix. The sources say that “as the duo shopped for an overall deal over the summer, they told potential suitors that they planned to work on Star Wars concurrently with any projects under their new deal.”
Yeah, as someone who often bites off more than they can chew for money, I understand the hustle, but I think getting to helm a Star Wars trilogy while only having one successful project under your belt would be enough of a win. But then again, I’ve never had the confidence of a mediocre cishet white man, so what do I know?
As others have pointed out, despite the flop of GoT’s finale season, it, on paper, makes sense why people would want to grab these two writers for projects. However, the kind of nine-figure deal they got from Netflix tends to go to prolific producers who can manage multiple projects at once and have built empires upon multiple shows, like Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes. Netflix paid Ryan Murphy $300 million over five years, and he’s already working on 10 projects less than two years after signing the deal.
Benioff and Weiss, in comparison, have only made 73 episodes of television, on one show, over the past decade, with a two-year delay before the final split season came out.
At the time of the Netflix pact, according to sources, Benioff and Weiss were working on a treatment for Lucasfilm and were committed to writing at least one of their Star Wars films, despite that the original deal was for them to write all three. Honestly, Lucasfilm, you have truly been spared. But, according to another source, the Netflix deal required them to be exclusively on the sets of the projects they created during production, which means a limited timeframe for them to be on Star Wars—which would be something you’d probably want to check on before signing another contract.
Beyond their limited experience, there was also the issue of Benioff and Weiss not wanting to be caught up in another “toxic fandom” after what happened to Rian Johnson and Kelly Marie Tran, plus their own backlash (which seems to be growing) about their handling of Game of Thrones.
In the end, while I am glad that these two guys aren’t working on Star Wars, all of this does call into question what is going on with Star Wars. From the way the sequel trilogy has been handled, it seems as if there is no clear vision of what the series should be. With the hindsight of time, the two sequel films, while well made and well acted, are also, in some ways, narratively disappointing. While Rey has no doubt become an iconic character, there is still a lot of underdevelopment when it comes to Finn and Poe, and while I’m glad Star Wars continues to give us strong brunettes, it’d be great for characters of color to get their due.
One source noted that, right now, there is still no consensus as to what Star Wars is and what Star Wars should be. Axing directors, switching creative talent, and canceling projects just doesn’t instill a sense of faith in the company. As much as I have, overall, enjoyed this era of Star Wars, Disney has made its money back. Maybe it’s time to just stop the movies and focus on television, books, and theme parks. Diluting the brand for money never works well in the long run, and until they have someone who loves Star Wars for what it is helming the ship, putting it aside might be for the best.
(via Yahoo, image: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
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