A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away two men signed on to direct a new Star Wars trilogy. Those men were the showrunners of HBO mega-hit series Game of Thrones, David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Not so long ago, and a lot closer to home, they surprisingly pulled out of the deal for reasons largely unknown. Well, those reasons have stepped out of the darkness and into the light thanks to various sources and insiders, and the infamous toxic fandom that blights Star Wars seems to have been the factor that eventually pushed Benioff and Weiss away.
These mysterious sources have been speaking out about the varying reasons for the duo's departure, stating that the 'toxic fandom' was simply putting too much pressure on the pair. Of course, Benioff and Weiss are no strangers to fan criticism, having built Game of Thrones from the ground up, initially to massive critical acclaim, that was sadly scuppered come the series' divisive final season. The backlash to the final season was so brutal in fact that the pair dropped out of a farewell panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.
It has been suggested by another source that the Game of Thrones duo had some trepidation about leaping from one harsh fanbase to another, with Star Wars fans having gone so far as to bully actors off of social media in the past.
"Who wants to go through that again? Not them. This was in the 'Life's Too Short' category."
Clearly Benioff and Weiss wanted out, but the toxicity of some members of the Star Wars fanbase was far from the only reason for their withdrawal.
These same enigmatic sources have even stated that Benioff and Weiss' exit has been brewing since as early as August, with their Netflix deal being a huge matter of contention. The eye-watering $250 million deal was inked just as they were scheduled to begin working on Star Wars, much to Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy's chagrin. Allegedly, Kennedy was not convinced that the duo could develop an entire trilogy whilst sharing their attention with developing TV and Film projects for the streaming service. With the Star Wars franchise's somewhat less-than-stellar track record with directors recently, Kennedy's apprehension is more than understandable.
The push-and-pull between Netflix and Disney is certainly the reason that has been cited by Benioff and Weiss for their exit, as their joint statement reads.
"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 [from Star Wars]."
But, wipe away those tears Star Wars fans, as the finale of the Skywalker saga will hit screens come December. Though from the response to trailers and promotional material so far from some of the more venomous fans, perhaps Benioff and Weiss made the right decision. The Hollywood Reporter brings us these latest speculations.