David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the writers who created HBO’s Game of Thrones, have exited their Star Wars project, according to Deadline. The move is a setback to Disney’s plans for the franchise, which had already announced that their films would hit theaters in 2022.
Disney announced that the pair would be working on a new Star Wars project that would succeed the currently-running Skywalker Saga, which is set to wrap up this December with Rise of Skywalker. At the time, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy praised their work on Game of Thrones, saying that “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.”
Following their work on Game of Thrones, a number of major studios courted the pair with some high-profile deals. In August, the two ultimately signed an overall deal worth “as much as $300 million” for the next five years with Netflix, but indicated that they plans to also complete a couple of other projects.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Benioff and Weiss indicated that they couldn’t do both: “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.”
In the meantime, Lucasfilm has a number of other projects in the works. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is currently developing a film trilogy, Marvel’s Kevin Feige is working on a film, as well as a handful of TV shows for Disney+, including on about Cassian Andor (about to go into production), and Obi-Wan Kenobi — not to mention The Mandalorian, set to come out next month. Johnson’s film trilogy wasn’t on Disney’s long-term film schedule, and it’s not clear how that schedule will change with the departure of Benioff and Weiss, whose films were slated for 2022, 2024, and 2026.
Despite the news, it looks as though Lucasfilm will welcome back the pair. In a statement of her own, Kennedy noted that she hoped that Benioff and Weiss would return at some point down the road. “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.”