In somewhat shocking news coming out of Lucasfilm tonight, former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are no longer moving forward with their planned series of Star Wars films, the first of which was already set to be released in December of 2022. As reported by Deadline, the two creatives have walked away from their deal with Lucasfilm due to the pair’s overly crowded schedule.

First announced in February of 2018, the Benioff / Weiss Star Wars series was assumed by many fans to take place during the Old Republic era within the franchise’s larger timeline, though that rumor was never officially announced or confirmed. This departure leaves a very big question mark on Disney’s release schedule, and one has to wonder whether that December 16, 2022 date will be taken up by a different Star Wars project or something else entirely.

What’s happening:

  • Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have departed their in-development multi-film Star Wars project at Lucasfilm, which was planned to begin with a 12/16/2022 release date.
  • The first film in their series was to be the return to the big screen for the sci-fi/fantasy series after a three-year gap in the wake of this coming winter’s “Skywalker Saga”-ending Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Benioff and Weiss cited their deal with Netflix as the chief reason why they can’t move forward with Star Wars projects, but their enthusiasm for the franchise remains.
  • The duo are not the first filmmakers to leave Lucasfilm prior to the completion of their projects under the company’s current owner Disney. Previously, directors Josh Trank, Phil Lord & Chris Miller, and Colin Trevorrow have separated from their respective Star Wars endeavors for a variety of stated reasons.
  • Still in development at Lucasfilm are feature films from Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, plus Disney+ television series based on the characters Cassian Andor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Obi-Wan Kenobi from the original and prequel trilogies.

What they’re saying:

  •  David Benioff and D.B. Weiss:  “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. 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.”
  • Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm:  “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.”