Beyond the upcoming core episodic films of the Star Wars saga, Disney and Lucasfilm have plans for a series of standalone films – officially referred to as Star Wars Anthology films – with the intention to explore characters who don’t feature quite as prominently throughout Episodes I-IX. The first of these is Star Wars: Rogue One, which will be directed by Gareth Edwards from a script by Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, and will follow a band of rebels as they attempt to steal the infamous Death Star plans.

As for their next Anthology film, we know very little. The latest rumors suggests it will be a Boba Fett origin film with Han Solo expected to play a role, and until very recently, Fantastic Four‘s Josh Trank was attached to direct. That fell apart, however, not long after Star Wars Celebration, where Trank was noticeably absent from a panel he was set to appear on alongside Rogue One‘s Edwards. Very quickly strange rumors began circulating about why Trank left the project and even an official statement from the director – and Lucasfilm did little to quell them.

Since then those rumors have only grown uglier, to the point that some were insisting a reason behind Trank’s departure was his “erratic” behavior on the set of Fantastic Four; including some strange accounts of his dogs doing upwards of $100,000 of damage to house he was renting during production. And once these malicious rumors began spreading, it only added to the vitriol and anger of Star Wars fans who already felt Trank’s leaving of the film was a personal attack on their beloved fandom.

In an upcoming interview with Trank for Hero Complex, Trank responds to the backlash he’s received since leaving the Star Wars project, stressing this was not a decision he made lightly:

“At first I was like, ‘I’m just not going to say anything because it will blow over, but I was shocked – it just hasn’t blown over. People get so excited to raise their pitchforks. I knew that this was going to be questioned and it was going to come under skepticism as to why I left ‘Star Wars, and it was hard. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”

Trank goes on to deny all those bizarre rumors, “None of those facts were true – and any of the facts that were true were spun in such a maliciously wrong way,” and he insists that tales of his on set behavior during FF were wildly false:

“If you ask anybody by name who I’ve worked with, from Simon to [producer] Hutch [Parker] or my crew or anybody else, they’d be like, ‘We’ve been working really hard on this movie and we’ve had an excellent time working together.’ It’s been a challenging movie – for all of the right reasons.”

Fantastic Four Director John Trank Explains Why He Left Star Wars Anthology Film Fantastic Four Director Josh Trank Explains Star Wars Departure


Choosing to leave a project he felt very passionate about – Trank has cited Star Wars as one of his biggest influences – was clearly a difficult decision. And for a director like Trank, whose first film was the surprise indie hit Chronicle, moving from one heavily scrutinized franchise (Fox’s Fantastic Four) to another was simply more than he felt he could handle.

“I want to do something original after this because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life, and it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar. I have a great relationship with everyone at Lucasfilm and with [VP of development] Kari Hart, and they all understood it because this whole experience for me has been very psychologically hard.”

It’s often the most passionate of fans that can end up being the most cruel, even if their anger isn’t meant to be directed at any one individual. Fan outrage can be justified, but when it becomes needlessly hurtful it’s no longer deserved. Everyone can have an opinion on the Star Wars prequels, for example, but that isn’t reason to declare, “George Lucas raped my childhood!” And the same goes for all the malicious and awful things being said of Trank and Fantastic Four – a film that won’t even release for another two months.

Star Wars Logo Large Fantastic Four Director Josh Trank Explains Star Wars Departure


Hopefully, before too long we’ll know who will pick up the baton on the second Star Wars Anthology film, but until then Trank appears more than satisfied to get back to creating his own worlds and characters for a while. And we here at Screen Rant couldn’t be happier to see what he imagines next.

What sort of project would you like to see Josh Trank tackle next? Who would you like to see working on the second Star Wars Anthology film? And what do you think of how intense fans’ anger can be? Can it ever go too far? Let us hear from you in the comments below!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015; Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016; and Star Wars: Episode VIII (subtitle TBD) on May 26th, 2017.

Source: L.A. Times,.

Header image by Dan LuVisa