The planned Star Wars movie trilogy from Game of Thrones creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss is no longer happening, and there are a variety of reasons as to why. Benioff & Weiss were first revealed to be working on what was then described as a new Star Wars film series back in February 2018, when they were still in production on Game of Thrones season 8, and it was later confirmed that it would indeed be a trilogy, with the first movie expected to land in the December 2022 release date Disney has staked out.
Now, however, Benioff & Weiss have announced they're not making Star Wars anymore, which is a decision that is only partially surprising. There hasn't been a huge amount said about their trio of movies, and it'd already dropped from three to them perhaps just writing one and overseeing the narrative direction of the others, so it's not like other instances Disney has faced where they've lost filmmakers long into the process.
Benioff & Weiss' official reasoning for leaving Star Wars behind is the mega-deal they signed with Netflix shortly after Game of Thrones came to an end, which is worth a reported $200 million and covers film and TV. It was reported back then that Disney had been in the running to sign the duo, but the lure of Netflix won out, and it has done again now. In a joint statement, the duo said: "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.” However, it seems unlikely, given the current status of Star Wars and the backlash to Game of Thrones season 8, that time constraints are the only reason they're stepping away. After all, this is Star Wars: writers and directors tend to make time for one of cinema's biggest ever franchises.
From Benioff & Weiss' perspective, it's probably not wise to continue making Star Wars movies given the backlash to Game of Thrones. The response has been aimed squarely and solely at them, and whether entirely justified or not, they're not popular figures among either Game of Thrones fans nor Star Wars ones. There have already been calls for Lucasfilm to cancel their trilogy, and they were unlikely to die down; in a way, the duo was on a hiding to nothing with their Star Wars trilogy. A vocal section of the fanbase didn't want it, and it would represent a huge risk in further damaging their already tarnished reputation. Instead, they can go to Netflix and, while nothing they do will be quiet, focus more on their own projects and gradually try to rebuild their reputations without the pressures that come with working in a pre-established universe with a rabid fanbase (and pocketing that Netflix dollar will certainly help too).
For Disney, too, this likely works out quite nicely. The future of Star Wars is in a state of flux right now; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releases in December, but there are no confirmed movies beyond that. After the backlash to The Last Jedi, Disney Star Wars is in a slightly precarious position, and there have already been some missteps. Continuing with Benioff & Weiss' trilogy, given how unpopular the duo are right now (at least in terms of online discourse if nothing else) wasn't going to improve the Star Wars brand. Since it was reported that Kevin Feige is making a Star Wars movie, there have been discussions about the structure of Lucasfilm and the future Star Wars slate, and some had predicted they'd drop the Game of Thrones creators' movies anyway. Whatever happened behind the scenes, there's probably more to it than what Benioff & Weiss' statement says, but it's not worked out badly for either party.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019