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The Real Reason The Game Of Thrones Creators Are No Longer Making A Star Wars Trilogy

The Game of Thrones guys are getting out of the galaxy far, far away. 

As confirmed by Deadline, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, best known for creating and showrunning Game of Thrones, have exited Lucasfilm and their planned Star Wars trilogy. The pair were slated to write and direct three films that would serve as the next chapter in the Star Wars franchise following the launch of The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the nine-film Skywalker saga. 

Benioff and Weiss revealed in a statement the reason why they are no longer making their Star Wars trilogy: they are simply too busy working on projects for Netflix. In August 2019, it was reported that the duo had inked a massive five-year deal — believed to be worth as much as $300 million — with the streaming giant to create new television series and original movies. No details on Benioff and Weiss' Netflix shows and films have been revealed as of this writing, but it seems clear that they may be more invested in those projects than in their three Star Wars movies. 

Still, the joint statement that Benioff and Weiss provided to Deadline alongside the announcement of their exit indicates that their decision to depart from the Star Wars universe had no ill intent, and that the move wasn't motivated by any bad blood or behind-the-scenes troubles. 

"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," the two stated. "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."

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy echoed Benioff and Weiss' sentiments in a statement of her own: "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."

Is there irony in Benioff and Weiss' Star Wars departure?

Judging by the remarks Benioff, Weiss, and Kennedy made, it appears that everything is pretty peachy-keen between the creatives and the studio. However, people have begun speculating that perhaps this isn't the entire truth — that Lucasfilm may have actually fired Benioff and Weiss. 

Some fans (of both Game of Thrones and Star Wars) are convinced that Lucasfilm executives booted Benioff and Weiss due to the way they handled adapting a beloved property in Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's acclaimed fantasy novels, and were particularly displeased with the decisions the pair made with the series' much-maligned final season and finale episode. One Twitter user even snapped that the pair didn't willingly exit their Star Wars trilogy, but were fired from Lucasfilm "for being hacks."

As everyone knows, the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones was derided by fans and critics alike. It was so controversial, in fact, that millions of fans petitioned for HBO to remake the entire final season with writers more "competent" than Benioff and Weiss. 

It's since come to light that the duo truly weren't as qualified to showrun Game of Thrones as one might have expected — and they owned up to that just recently. In a play-by-play Twitter thread chronicling Benioff and Weiss' revelations at their Austin Film Festival session on Saturday, October 26, Twitter user @ForArya relayed that Benioff admitted he and Weiss told George R.R. Martin in a pre-meeting that they "didn't really have any" TV bonafides. Benioff is reported to have said, "We had never done TV and we didn't have any. We don't know why he trusted us with his life's work." 

Elsewhere in the thread, @ForArya notes that Benioff and Weiss shared the following: they initially "didn't understand the characters," they "wanted to remove as many fantasy elements as possible" from Martin's source material so they could appeal to a larger audience that included "mothers and NFL players," that their original Thrones pilot (which was so terrible that it had to be completely redone with new actors) was filled with "basic writing mistakes," and that Game of Thrones was "basically an expensive film school" for the two of them. 

Despite not knowing a lot about what they were doing, Benioff and Weiss managed to create one of the best TV shows in recent history... up until the divisive final season. The vast majority of viewers felt that throughout season 8, characters acted in ways they normally wouldn't and made transformations that were unearned, plot-lines veered off into the unbelievable, and the story moved along at a detrimentally breakneck speed. 

In an April 2019 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the pair explained that HBO executives actually gave them the opportunity to create additional episodes of Game of Thrones to tell more of the story (and to tie up the intricate narrative in as satisfying a way as possible) and were willing to provide them with any resources necessary to make that happen. Weiss revealed, "To their credit, they put their money where their mouths are — literally stuffed their mouth full of million-dollar bills which don't exist anymore. They said, 'We'll give you the resources to make this what it needs to be, and if what it needs to be is a summer tentpole-size spectacle in places, then that's what it will be.'" 

But that's simply not what Benioff and Weiss wanted. Instead, they were determined to end Game of Thrones with season 8 (and bring the total content time up to 73 hours) no matter what. 

That came at a cost: the rushed nature of Thrones' final season was one of the biggest gripes people had with the concluding chapter, and many felt that Benioff and Weiss did major disservices to characters like Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen, Lena Headey's Cersei Lannister, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's Jaime Lannister by moving things along so quickly. Some fans are now convinced that a big reason why Benioff and Weiss blazed through the eighth season of Game of Thrones and didn't want to keep the show going (even if it would have been beneficial) was because they wanted to shift their focus to starting work on their Star Wars trilogy, which was announced in February 2018 — right in the middle of filming on Thrones season 8. (Shooting began in October 2017 and ended in July 2018.)

Benioff and Weiss had to have impressed Lucasfilm brass to some degree in order to land the job of writing and directing the Star Wars trilogy, but there might be some irony in their recent departure: fans of their work felt that they rushed Game of Thrones season 8 so that they could start on Star Wars... only to end up leaving the franchise for a different project (or possibly being fired from it). 

What does their exit mean for the future of Star Wars?

The upside of this is that the Star Wars franchise will be just fine without Benioff and Weiss on board. Lucasfilm is far smarter than to have the future success of the entire film series hinge on the enduring commitment of two people. Plus, the studio has plenty of time to get its proverbial TIE Fighters in a row and decide who should take the reins on the franchise moving forward, as the Star Wars films will be taking a brief hiatus following the December 20 launch of The Rise of Skywalker. It's believed that the break will last three years, given that the first of Benioff and Weiss' three Star Wars installments was expected to hit cinemas sometime in 2022

One might assume that Lucasfilm would have to delay the franchise return by a year or two to make up for the loss of Benioff and Weiss and the creative shake-ups that will ensue, but to make such an assumption would be to forget that the studio has two big-name movie-makers already working on projects of their own — creatives who are more than capable of taking the place of Benioff and Weiss. 

Both The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson and Marvel Studios chief creative officer Kevin Feige are set to create their own additions to the Star Wars universe, with Johnson making his own trilogy and Feige producing a movie (that may or may not feature a Marvel Cinematic Universe mainstay). It seems most plausible that Lucasfilm will effectively replace Benioff and Weiss' trilogy with Johnson's, though there's no way to know what the studio will do at this point in time. 

Either way, the future of Star Wars still looks bright. We may never know what adventures Benioff and Weiss would have taken audiences on in their Star Wars trilogy, but their exit may be for the best. If they ended Game of Thrones with fire and fury and a truly baffling coronation, one can only imagine the wildness that the pair would have brought to the galaxy far, far away.