David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are jumping from one storied Hollywood franchise into an even bigger one.
After the Game of Thrones creators finish the HBO drama’s final season, which will air next year, they’ll write and produce a new series of Star Wars films, Lucasfilm announced today.
The new Star Wars films will be separate from the ongoing Skywalker saga that is expected to wrap with Episode 9 in 2019, as well as the recently announced trilogy of films that being developed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson.
“David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “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.”
In a joint statement, Benioff and Weiss said, “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.”
UPDATE: During Disney’s earnings call on Monday afternoon, Disney CEO Bob Iger said Lucasfilm had been talking to Benioff and Weiss for “a long time” about the deal. “They have an idea about a number of films,” said Iger. “They’re focused on a point in time in the Star Wars mythology and taking it from there.”
But just because Benioff and Weiss are leaving Westeros for a galaxy far, far away doesn’t mean Game of Thrones fans have seen the last of TV shows based on George R.R. Martin’s novels. HBO is developing five separate Game of Thrones prequels.
In November, CEO Richard Plepler said five “bibles” have been submitted to the network, “a couple of them that we’re particularly high on.” He also stressed that “we’re not going out and saying, ‘Go find us a prequel to Game of Thrones.’ Instead, the creative team is “coming to us and saying, ‘We have an idea.’”
Plepler previously said Benioff and Weiss had decided not to be involved with any potential prequels, even as executive producer, in order to give others the creative freedom to take the franchise in new directions.
Game of Thrones has become one of TV’s biggest hits, but “anyone who tells you we knew that Thrones was going to be Thrones is completely full of shit. You don’t know that,” recalled Plepler.
Instead, HBO made a bet on “two guys who had never done a TV show in their life … pitching a fantasy show with dragons to us, and we believed in them and we bet on them,” Plepler said.
It is unclear what Benioff and Weiss’ Star Wars deal means for the future of Confederate, HBO’s controversial modern-day slavery drama that they were supposed to work on post-Thrones. HBO has not yet commented about the current status of Confederate and the duo’s involvement in the project.
With the final season of Game of Thrones delayed until 2019, HBO is focusing its 2018 marketing firepower on Westworld, which returns on April 22 for Season 2. On Sunday, HBO aired a Super Bowl ad for the series, returning to the Big Game for the first time in 20 years.