David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, creators of HBO’s Game of Thrones, are the hottest creative duo in Hollywood, and now they’re tackling an ever bigger franchise: Star Wars. After a decade plumbing the mind of George R.R. Martin, they’re pivoting to the legacy of George Lucas — and their project is as surprising as it is potentially game-changing.
Lucasfilm signed the power team to create a new series of Star Wars films that are separate and apart from the ongoing Skywalker storyline and the recently announced Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi) trilogy. While all of these projects will live within the same universe, the Benioff and Weiss series apparently won’t include any characters named, related to, or affiliated with the Skywalker clan, according to StarWars.com.
Think about that for a moment. After more than 40 years of Star Wars movies this will be the first without an appearance from Luke, Han, Leia, or Darth Vader — presumedly, Chewie and the droids are out too.
Does this mean that Lucasfilm are jumping backwards to the Knight of the Old Republic (KOTOR) era? Will they borrow or adapt anything from the Star Wars expanded universe novels? Will this new series delve into as-yet-unseen corners of the Star Wars galaxy?
So many questions! Let’s read what Lucasfilm’s president, Kathleen Kennedy, has to say:
David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today. Their command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting.”
Benioff and Weiss are understandably blown away by the opportunity:
In the summer of 1977 we traveled to a galaxy far, far away, and we’ve been dreaming of it ever since. We are honored by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of Game of Thrones is complete.”
There’s a lot left unsaid in these remarks.
One key term that does not appear: Trilogy. Erase it from your lexicon Star Wars fans. It’s understood that Lucasfilm will continue the existing Skywalker saga well beyond Episode IX. And even though Rian Johnson’s currently on the hook for a trilogy, his deal is open-ended — if his films are a success, expect a continuation. Disney, who owns Lucasfilm, is on the record with their desire for endless Star Wars films, shows, games, and any other media they can sustain (which is all of them). And let’s not forget about the Star Wars anthology films either.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters in May, and judging by the positive reception to its recent teaser and trailer anticipation is high. Solo is the second anthology film after the very popular Rogue One in 2016. Will there be more? Lucasfilm has been a little vague about the future of these one-off efforts. However, between Rogue One‘s billion dollar haul and Solo’s potentially massive box office, it’s more likely than unlikely that we’ll see the promised Boba Fett, Yoda, and other anthology films.
This raises a big question: how much Star Wars is too much Star Wars?
We’ve become accustomed to 2-3 Marvel movies each year, and DC Films are also striving for 2-3 of their own going forward. The marketplace suggests that 4-6 superhero films per year is now status quo. So, it’s reasonable that 2-3 Star Wars movies per year could be sustained, given their multi-generational popularity. Between the anthologies, the Skywalker saga, Johnson’s trilogy, and the new Benioff and Weiss series, it doesn’t take any force-sensitivity to see how they’ll get there.
Sure, that sounds like a lot of Star Wars, but when each film is grossing north of $800 million worldwide, you can understand why Disney would want to widen the firehose. Until the market pushes back, get ready for a steady flood of Jedi, Sith, Rebels, and Empire (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days).
In other words, if you combine Marvel and DC’s superhero films with Star Wars — these films share a lot of DNA and a core audience — that’s basically one movie per month until infinity. And don’t forget Disney’s other big guns: Pixar and their own Disney-branded live-action and animated films. That’s great news for Disney and Warner Brothers (owners of DC Films), but maybe not so great for the rest of the industry. We’re not far from a future wherein a Disney or DC Film hits theaters every other week.
For now, the answer to the question of how much Star Wars is too much Star Wars? That’s the oldest Jedi Mind Trick in the book. To quote a famous Jedi, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Lucasfilm is in the doing business, and they’ll be doing it until audiences stop turning up… and so far, there’s no sign of that on any horizon in this sector of the galaxy.