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Game of Thrones showrunners explain why their Star Wars film was cancelled - and it isn't why you think

The Force simply wasn't with them at the time, as it turned out

Daenerys' Mean Girls face from Game of Thrones season 8
Image credit: HBO Entertainment

Back in 2019, there weren’t many names in TV bigger than David Benioff and Dan Weiss. They were on the brink of the final season of HBO's Game of Thrones, a show so popular it had become a pop culture touchstone, and everyone was excited to see what the duo was planning next - particularly since they were rumored to be putting together a Star Wars film for Disney after the conclusion of the latest trilogy.

And then the final season of Game of Thrones landed in 2019, and soured the perception of Benioff and Weiss. No longer were they the pair with the golden touch, who had turned their first TV show into a bona fide cultural phenomenon – they were suddenly the showrunners who lacked a coherent vision and failed to stick the landing. Whether these accusations were true or not is up for debate, but the sudden cancellation of the pair’s Star Wars film seemed to confirm that faith in them had evaporated almost overnight.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Benioff and Weiss shed some light on what happened behind the scenes that made their Star Wars movie disappear from the production slate. Turns out, it was more a difference in creative vision than a reaction to the Game of Thrones finale.

“We wanted to do The First Jedi,” Benioff explained in the interview. “Basically how the Jedi Order came to be, why it came to be, the first lightsaber…”

“And we were annoyed as hell when [Rian Johnson] called his movie The Last Jedi,” Weiss adds, though it should be noted that Johnson is a close friend of the pair and is a co-producer in their upcoming series, 3 Body Problem. This comment was probably made in jest. “He completely destroyed the obvious title for what we were working on.”

Why didn’t that movie happen? “[Lucasfilm] ended up not wanting to do a First Jedi story,” according to Benioff. “We had a very specific story idea in mind, and ultimately they decided they didn’t want to do that. And we totally get it. It’s their company and their IP, but we weren’t the droids they were looking for.”

Of course, Lucasfilm would eventually come around to the idea of a Jedi origin story, with James Mangold currently developing a film set 25,000 years before the Skywalker Saga begins. Perhaps it was that the company felt that Benioff and Weiss weren’t the right people to handle the origin of the Force and the Jedi Order, either because of poor reception to the Game of Thrones finale or in complete isolation of it... Or it could simply be that executives weren’t ready to tackle that subject in a film yet. Either way, the pair’s potential Star Wars film never developed.

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