A new Star Wars trilogy, set to be helmed by the creative duo behind the Game of Thrones franchise, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, has been cancelled.
The partnership between the TV titans and Star Wars custodians Disney was announced about a year and a half ago, with the first movie expected to be released in 2022. That will no longer happen.
In a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), the pair put it simply as: "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."
- Disney Plus app: what devices will run it?
- Disney Plus review: what we thought so far
- What Star Wars Disney Plus shows are coming?
A disturbance in the Force?
The Netflix deal certainly would leave far less time for the pair to craft a sufficiently meaty extension to the Star Wars universe, and there would have been a lot resting on their shoulders – this years' 'Rise of Skywalker' film concludes a 9-movie arc that started back in 1977.
What comes next would need to be a radically new and engaging take on the property, if it's to continue the love for that galaxy far, far away without relying on the exploits of Luke, Chewie and R2-D2.
Other moving parts are in play too which could also point to why the Game of Thrones duo have had the plug pulled. For starters, the concluding series of Game of Thrones was met with little love, with many seeing it as a rushed conclusion to George R. R. Martin's fantasy epic.
As Benioff and Weiss were working well beyond Martin's books by the time the last series came together, questions may have been raised as to how well they can pull together work of their own from source material with a large canonical universe.
Then there's the muted reception to the last Star Wars film, 'Solo', the Han Solo origin story. It was very much a case of too much, too soon, but also represented at the time the latest in several directorial changes for the franchise in quick succession, with Ron Howard having to take over the project at the last minute following a falling out between Star Wars head Kathleen Kennedy and original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
But perhaps most telling of all is the fact that Marvel boss Kevin Feige is now also working on a Star Wars project.
The interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe is perhaps the greatest Hollywood success story of the last 15 years, and Feige has proven himself more than capable of handling a franchise with many moving parts. It's likely that his is now the project destined to take Star Wars forward for the next generation.
And yet, there's still more Star Wars to come. Rian Johnson, director of the divisive The Last Jedi, is set to helm another Star Wars trilogy, while two TV shows are in the works: The Mandalorian debuts on Disney+ on November 12th, and Diego Luna is set to star in a Rogue One prequel series set to begin filming in 2020. And there's of Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker, which hits cinemas on December 20th, rounding off the current core Star Wars storyline.
Lightsabers at the ready then...