This week was sort of perfect if you hate David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners and writers of Game of Thrones. The week started out with the story of Benioff and Weiss showing their white-dude privilege at the Austin Film Festival and just a few days later, they were pushed out of the Star Wars franchise they were supposed to take over in a few years. The whole reason they did such a sloppy, sh-tty job on the final season of Game of Thrones was because of STAR WARS. They were done thinking about GoT, so that’s why they phoned it in. So what exactly happened with the Star Wars deal, and was it really Benioff and Weiss’s decision? The Hollywood Reporter has a lengthy, dishy piece about what happened – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy didn’t like Benioff & Weiss’s Netflix deal: Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Benioff and Weiss’ exit has been brewing since August. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy is said to have been unhappy with the Netflix deal, inked just as they were scheduled to begin work on Star Wars. (Benioff and Weiss had said multiple times that they would not turn their focus to Star Wars until production wrapped on the final season of Thrones, which ended in July 2018.) Kennedy was not convinced the pair — known for focusing on one project at a time — could develop a sci-fi trilogy while also overseeing film and TV projects at Netflix. Sources say that as the duo shopped for an overall deal over the summer, they told potential suitors that they planned to work on Star Wars concurrently with any projects under their new deal.
It’s all about the war between Netflix & Disney: Benioff and Weiss’ departure also marks the latest in what has become a tenuous relationship between Netflix and Disney. Sources say Disney was among the early meetings the Thrones pair had for an overall deal, though the Mouse House did not make it to the final round. (Amazon was a frontrunner before Netflix swooped in.) Disney famously severed ties with the streamer years ago when it began pulling back its Marvel movies as it prepared its own Disney+ streaming service. Disney networks more recently began rejecting advertising from Netflix.
Kathleen Kennedy sucks: Kennedy, according to a source familiar with her thinking, was nervous [about D&D’s Netflix deal]. The duo would become the fourth directors to exit a Star Wars project since she took the helm of Lucasfilm… When THR exclusively reported last month that Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige, the architect of Disney’s multibillion-dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe, will be working with Kennedy on a Star Wars movie, some speculated that the move was an acknowledgement that not all is well in the Star Wars universe. For their part, Disney co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman continue to stand by Kennedy. “With the close of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Wars storytelling, and knowing what a die-hard fan Kevin is, it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together,” the studio chiefs said in a statement.
Benioff & Weiss can’t handle criticism: Meanwhile, Benioff and Weiss were also feeling the heat and began having second thoughts about jumping into Star Wars due to what one source described as “toxic fandom.” 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.”
Star Wars needs a “come to Jesus” moment: One underlying problem Benioff and Weiss’ exit illustrates, one source notes, is that there is still no consensus as to what Star Wars is and what Star Wars should be…Unlike Marvel, which has had a clear vision of its cinematic universe, Star Wars has had trouble finding its footing. “This stuff needs to be sorted before it gets to a cataclysmic point,” says the source.
After reading the entire thing… I think Kathleen Kennedy is going to be pushed out of LucasFilm within the next year or so, honestly. And while I want to support a powerful woman executive making tough decisions, Kennedy brought this sh-t on herself. She’s truly spent her tenure at LucasFilm handing off valuable properties to untested, unprepared, mediocre white dudes and then spending tens of millions of dollars (if not hundreds of millions) to fix their mistakes. At least she saw the issues with Benioff and Weiss before production began, and before the script even came in. But yeah, I’m not expecting the whole “white dudes know best” thing to change under Kevin Feige’s role at LucasFilm either. Messy.
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