The acclaimed creators of Game of Thrones, television’s most popular show at the moment, have been roped in for a major cinematic project. Lucasfilm announced today that writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss will aid them in developing a new series of Star Wars films. Furthermore, these will be separate from both the ongoing Skywalker saga as well as the new trilogy of films which Rian Johnson has been assigned to develop.
In an officially worded statement, Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm stated, “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.” Likewise, Benioff and Weiss were ecstatic at getting a shot at their childhood fantasies, with both issuing a joint statement to that effect:
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.
– David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
This news has far reaching ramifications for Disney’s ambitious plans for Star Wars going forward. Assuming the currently ongoing Skywalker saga will end with Episode IX, we could have two series of Star Wars movies going forward – the main trilogy helmed by Rian Johnson and a parallel series of films by the D & D duo. If this turns out to be the case, the duo will likely be assigned the task of crafting standalone spin-off films for the next generation. Another possibility yet is that Benioff and Weiss are working on a separate trilogy of films on their own, separate from the spin-offs. This way, we’d have three sets of Star Wars films with alternating releases:
- The trilogy of movies by Rian Johnson
- The series of movies by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
- The spin-off or anthology films
With each movie releasing one at a year, Disney has the next 10 years of Star Wars set and planned. And the variety of content would help prevent audience fatigue. While this strategy may seem novel, it really is simply a mirror of what’s being done at their other acquisition Marvel. Movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have spawned sub-franchises within itself, with each releasing alternately with the other. As such, we don’t have three Iron Man or Captain America movies release back-to-back; instead, we have one Iron Man followed by one Thor followed by one Captain America followed by one Avengers followed again by one Iron Man thus continuing the cycle while avoiding audience exhaustion.
This strategy also reflects similar methods adopted extensively by video game companies since the past decade or so with EA’s Need for Speed and Activision’s Call of Duty being the front bearers of his movement. Both EA and Activision generally have around three distinct teams working on their most popular installments and each is released three years apart. The result is a steady annual influx of some of the most well known games without risking fatigue or exhaustion; although the strategy has been called out by gamers off-late as being lazy and stifling original creativity. At this juncture though, Disney is a far cry from becoming something like EA or Activision and for the sake of fans, we hope that never comes to pass.