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Benioff and Weiss drop out of Star Wars

Written by Film

In a statement given to Deadline, Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have announced that they will be leaving the upcoming Star Wars trilogy. The pair were reported to be working on the project back in February, although next to nothing was known about this trilogy of films.

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier.

The reason cited for the pair’s exit from the franchise is a deal that Benioff and Weiss is an exclusive deal signed with Netflix. This is the final chapter in a much longer story of a bidding war for the writing duo, ending with the popular streaming company claiming them over both Amazon and Disney. With over 40 Emmy awards under their belt, one would think that this was a good move for the streaming giant, which has been suffering a considerable subscriber downturn in recent months.

However, one must consider the fan reaction to the final season of Game of Thrones, as well as the previous record of both writers before getting too excited for whatever Benioff and Weiss have in the pipeline.

These novels are densely packed with details and complex characters, which supported and informed Benioff and Weiss’ writing of the show enormously

Game of Thrones turned the world of fantasy television upside down, nobody can deny that. With ratings at a nearly constant high for the first four seasons, it seemed for a time that Benioff and Weiss could do no wrong from a writing perspective. One must remember, however, that all of this content was supported by the original novels from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. These novels are densely packed with details and complex characters, which I felt supported and informed Benioff and Weiss’ writing of the show enormously.

You only have to take a look at the turn characterisation and development take once they catch up with the events of the books, at around season six. Almost immediately, plotlines narrow, characters become flatter and the overall quality of the writing feels more rushed, especially in episodes solely written by Benioff and Weiss.

It’s not just Game of Thrones that suffers from this, however. The projects that the two had worked on before landing that show were very few. Most notable is that of Benioff, who had written six feature films, including Troy, The Kite Runner, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Anyone who has seen either Troy or Origins will know that while mildly entertaining, these films are by no means incredible.

IMBD

Another thing to note is that Benioff almost exclusively works in adapting written media onto screens, with many of his other films being based on his own novel and short stories. This shows a reliance in his writing on some kind of source material which could have been a brilliant, or awful thing for the Star Wars franchise.

Both the ‘Legends’ and ‘Canon’ of the Star Wars expanded universe is rich with novels and comics that have nothing to do with the Skywalker saga, which I did hope might have made it into the trilogy that Benioff and Weiss were writing. This would have suited their model and may have led to some excellent characters returning to the Star Wars canon. However, what was also worrying was that this pair of writers would have simply created more rushed, flat stories, adding further blemishes to a franchise that really doesn’t need any more.

So what does this mean for Lucasfilm, and its story group’s plans for Star Wars? In my opinion, this is a good thing. While it does put a delay on the development of the franchise after The Rise of Skywalker premiers in December, we’re sure to see more of the galaxy far, far away in coming years. In fact, Rian Johnson is still working on another trilogy of non-Skywalker Star Wars films, so we can expect to see his very particular filmmaking handiwork in the future.

In summary, while Dave and Dan have left the franchise for now, Star Wars isn’t going anywhere.

Last modified: 6th November 2019

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