“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,” the two said in a statement. “So we are regretfully stepping away.”
The creators added that they love Star Wars even though they are not following through with their set of films.
“When George Lucas built it, he built us too,” they said. “Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything.”
Deadline was first to report the news.
Benioff and Weiss’ films, which were going to take place away from the drama of the Skywalker family, were scheduled to be the next set of Star Wars movies to hit theaters after December’s “The Rise of Skywalker.”
Disney (DIS)‘s Lucasfilm, which produces Star Wars, had announced in 2018 that Benioff and Weiss were developing new films in the franchise.
Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm’s president, said Monday night that the duo are “incredible storytellers” and that the company hopes “to include them in the journey forward when they are able to step away from their busy schedule to focus on Star Wars.”
There have been a number of directorial disturbances in the Force since Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left the Star Wars spinoff, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” during production. The two were eventually replaced by director Ron Howard. Then director Colin Trevorrow left “Rise of Skywalker,” which was then known as just “Episode IX,” and was replaced by J.J. Abrams.
Disney’s four Star Wars films have totaled more than $4.8 billion at the box office worldwide since 2015. “Solo,” the franchise’s latest film, made nearly $400 million globally in 2018 — a big number, but a lackluster total by Star Wars standards.
Benioff and Weiss’ departure comes a few weeks after the news that Marvel’s chief creative officer Kevin Feige is developing a Star Wars movie for Lucasfilm.
The exit also comes at a crossroads for the space franchise.
“The Rise of Skywalker” marks the end of the Skywalker saga and an end of an era for one of the biggest brands in film history.
There was supposed to be be a three year hiatus between December’s “Rise of Skywalker” and the next Star Wars film, which will debut on December 16, 2022. With Benioff and Weiss now stepping away, it’s unclear what that film will be and who will helm it.
In the meantime, Star Wars isn’t going anywhere.
The franchise is a big component of Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+. Star Wars films and a new Star Wars series, “The Mandalorian,” will be a part of the service’s offerings when it launches on November 12.