Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films for Lucasfilm. The ever-popular franchise has enjoyed quite the renaissance since the studio was acquired by Disney, releasing a string of blockbuster hits that expand the galaxy far, far away and add richness to the mythology. The dust has barely settled on last year's The Last Jedi as Lucasfilm starts up the hype machine for this May's Solo: A Star Wars Story. J.J. Abrams will start filming Episode IX later this year, but the higher-ups are already plotting a future for the brand beyond the Skywalkers.
Prior to Episode VIII's premiere, Lucasfilm made the stunning announcement Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson would spearhead a new trilogy of films completely separate from the classic episodic saga that's defined the property to date. Apparently, Kathleen Kennedy isn't stopping there, as there's another new series of movies currently in the works.
In a press release, the studio announced Benioff and Weiss will write and produce the currently-untitled series. It will be separate from both the Skywalker saga and Johnson's new trilogy. No release dates have been set. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy expressed her excitement for the collaboration:
“David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today. 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.”
It will be fascinating to see how this partnership unfolds. Game of Thrones, HBO's smash hit fantasy series, is decidedly more mature in tone and storytelling than Star Wars ever has been. Yes, The Last Jedi just won AARP's Best Movie for Grownups award, but the franchise has always been family friendly and sported wide appeal. Of course, Johnson was best known for the adult-orientated Breaking Bad and Looper when he took on the Last Jedi job and proved to be a natural fit, so perhaps Benioff and Weiss' sensibilities will be similarly adaptable. It's also worth mentioning the duo are only handling writing and producing duties, meaning other filmmakers will be calling the shots. Many have called for Lucasfilm to diversify their talent behind the camera, so perhaps an opportunity could present itself here. Time will tell who Kennedy will bring on as directors.
As for when we can expect to see this series come into fruition, it may not be for a while. Benioff and Weiss are busy handling the last season of Game of Thrones, which is expected to air in 2019. With Lucasfilm currently operating on a "one movie per year" schedule, the earliest the first Benioff/Weiss movie would premiere is around 2021. It's too early to tell, but perhaps Lucasfilm will look to alternate between installments of Johnson's trilogy and this new series to sustain their annual release pattern (similar to the saga film/anthology rotation). Star Wars continues to do well critically and commercially, so there's no incentive to slow down right now. And with a movement towards fresh narratives starring all-new characters, the future should be bright.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019