Earlier this week, news broke that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — the two infamous showrunners of Game of Thrones — had stepped away from their Star Wars project — a project that was announced all the way back in February 2018.
In their statement, Benioff and Weiss pointed to their $200 million exclusive deal with Netflix as the reason they’ve decided to back out of the project, saying “there are only so many hours in the day.”
“We love Star Wars. 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,” the pair said to Deadline.
I, however, didn’t buy that for a second, as I wondered why Benioff and Weiss would make this decision now as they’ve been attached to Star Wars since early 2018 and have been signed to Netflix since August.
Why now — in late October — did they all of a sudden decide the workload was too grand? Did they overestimate the task at hand or their ability to pull it off? Something about the mathematics of the situation just didn’t add up to me.
And, as it so often turns out, I was right, as a recent report from The Hollywood Reporter indicates that Benioff and Weiss may have walked away from the galaxy far, far away because they were “feeling the heat and began having second thoughts about jumping into Star Wars due to what one source described as ‘toxic fandom’.”
The creators had built Thrones from the ground up — based on author George R.R. Martin’s sprawling novels — and were initially lauded by both critics and fans, who made the show HBO’s most watched original series ever. But the divisive six-episode final season that aired in the spring was met with such backlash that the duo backed out of a farewell panel at San Diego Comic-Con in the summer.
To go from Thrones to Star Wars, where fans have bullied actors off social media and taken aim at filmmakers like Johnson? “Who wants to go through that again? Not them,” notes another source with knowledge of Benioff and Weiss’ thinking. “This was in the ‘Life’s Too Short’ category.” [via The Hollywood Reporter]
Whether it be Benioff and Weiss realizing the limitations of their own talent or the pressure of delivering a quality product became too grand, the fact of the matter is that they got scared and bailed — straight up.
When the duo signed their Star Wars deal, they were arguably at the peak of their creative career powers. However, in the 18 months since, the entire perception of the pair has changed following the disastrous final season of Game of Thrones, which in turn appears to have sewed in some levels of self-doubt.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email firstname.lastname@example.org