The split between ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ creators Benioff and Weiss
In today’s media landscape, your casual fan of TV and film will have a pretty good idea of those doing the work behind the scenes. At least, they have a better idea now versus 20 years ago. Maybe it’s due to the rise of social media connecting fans and creatives more than ever before.
Regardless, there are big names that fans know: Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti. Each has created a storytelling empire. Others definitely wish to emulate them, even if they really have no business doing so.
For example, fans saw the disasters known as Inhumans and Iron Fist coming the minute Scott Buck’s name was attached. Why? He was in charge of Dexter’s final seasons.
Sometimes, you ruin something so fully and completely audiences are terrified of you touching anything again. This brings us to Game of Thrones creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Or, as we at Film Daily call them, Dumb & Dumber, which is probably an insult to the movie.
The collective culture has been burned by these two real bad. Sure, the first four seasons of Game of Thrones were some of the best fantasy adventure television ever produced. But the last four traced a sudden, painful decline of a once beloved cultural touchstone.
Needless to say, fans were terrified when it was announced that Benioff & Weiss would be developing a new Star Wars franchise. We don’t know if you know this, but those fans can be intense.
Then Benioff & Weiss split from the project to a collective sigh of fans everywhere. Here’s what we understand happened.
What Benioff & Weiss are saying
The creative duo blames the departure on their development deal with Netflix. The two reportedly nabbed $250 million dollars in a development deal with the streaming giant.
According to them, there are “only so many hours in a day”. Of course, the Netflix deal came after they had already signed on with Lucasfilms in Feb. 2018 – eighteen months before signing the Netflix development deal in August this year.
That didn’t stop them from signing on for their Star Wars project while they had Game of Thrones going on. That’s the explanation the pair are giving and sticking by for now.
What the experts think happened
Lucasfilms and directors who aren’t J.J. Abrams have had a rocky history with the recent Star Wars films. Chris Miller & Phil Lord were kicked off the solo Han Solo movie mid-project. Rian Johnson, who directed The Last Jedi, has admitted his own behind-the-scenes troubles.
It’s no surprise when a pair of reports from trade staples Variety and The Hollywood Reporter said Benioff & Weiss ran into a lot of holdups behind the scenes. A lot of that had to do with the direction of the potential project, which is believed to tell a story about the origins of the Jedi.
Variety reported that things went south during the summer. As relations went bad, “the studio had begun taking general meetings with other writers on possible Star Wars pitches—it’s unclear if these were just sit-downs exploring other related productions in the franchise’s cinematic and streaming universe.”
It comes down to the old Hollywood umbrella term of “creative differences” between the two factions. But another factor reportedly made Benioff & Weiss nervous: toxic fandom.
What to do when you’re afraid of toxic fandom
Toxic fandoms have reared their gruesome heads often in recent years. Unhinged individuals feeling invincible by the semi-anonymity of the web love to take their media enthusiasm too far by threatening actors, behind-the-scenes people, and each other. Star Wars’s Kelly Marie Tran even got bullied right off of social media entirely.
Recently, Benioff & Weiss have admitted they had not a single damn clue on what they were doing on Game of Thrones at Austin Film Festival, a rare appearance in the post-Game of Thrones world. Even if you didn’t watch Game of Thrones, you know the dragonfire fans were breathing about its final season. The show may have swept the Emmys, but got no love from its previously rabid fanbase.
Benioff & Weiss have cancelled appearances, famously at San Diego Comic Con 2019, and have kept silent in the aftermath of the Game of Thrones finale.
While the duo were feeling heat from Lucasfilms, The Hollywood Reporter reported that “Benioff & Weiss were also feeling the heat and began having second thoughts about jumping into Star Wars due to what one source described as ‘toxic fandom’.”
Where do we go from here?
While there aren’t any films slated for release after The Rise of Skywalker, with the Benioff & Weiss deal falling through, the anticipated Disney+ series The Mandalorian will be slotted into Star Wars fans’ schedules. The series has already been renewed for a second season.
Rian Johnson’s trilogy is still on the table, but the director himself isn’t that hopeful about it actually happening. We haven’t heard news about it in a while. Kevin Feige, the architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has his own project in the Star Wars universe in the works.
Benioff & Weiss still have the $250 million and a deal with Netflix – they’re not in dire straits or anything. Hopefully, when they have produced their Netflix content, they will know what they’re doing. If they’re not doing a film about the origins of the Jedi, then hopefully someone makes it. It does sound pretty dang cool.