March 21, 2023
by Bespin Bulletin

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Just over a year ago it was reported by Jeff Sneider via The Ankler that a new Star Wars film was being written by the mind behind hit television series such as The Leftovers and Watchmen, Damon Lindelof. Over the summer and into Fall of last year, various stories were released through the trades detailing a writers room Lindelof had constructed which featured his co-writer of the film, Justin Britt-Gibson and Dave Filoni. Lindelof brought a director, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel), on board early to help to develop the project. The film was reportedly set after the events of The Rise of Skywalker, but would not be tied to the Skywalker saga, with the film written as a stand-alone movie with a series of films in mind if the project was successful. It was also reported by World of Reel that production on the film was slated to begin this Spring, a claim Jeff Sneider on The Hot Mic sort of backed up, claiming that the film was looking to begin production “by the Summer” and recently added that Damon Lindelof had the two leads of the film already cast.

Today, the reporter who broke the initial story, Jeff Sneider, is now reporting via Above the Line, that Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson have exited the Star Wars movie that they started developing over a year ago. According to the report, Lindelof and Britt-Gibson turned in a draft to Lucasfilm sometime in mid-February and left the project just mere days later, for reasons unknown at this time. However Lucasfilm reportedly have a new writer on board for the project, who’s being kept under wraps at the time of writing, but chances are they’ll be revealed at or by Star Wars Celebration which kicks off on April 7th, with Sneider noting that the original plan was to formally announce the film at Celebration alongside a title and brief synopsis. The film that Lindelof exited is now set to go into production in February next year with plans to still release the project in cinemas on December 19th, 2025, and the director, Sharmeen-Obaid-Chinoy, is still aboard the project.

Just last week, Damon Lindelof, briefly spoke about his Star Wars film at SXSW to SlashFilm, and at the time many took the comments to confirm his involvement on the project, and that he wouldn’t be committing himself to crafting a Star Wars movie unless it was great. However with hindsight, his comments align with his departure.

I will just say, that for reasons that I can’t get into on this Sunday morning, on this day, the degree of difficulty is extremely, extremely, extremely high. If it can’t be great, it shouldn’t exist. That’s all I’ll say, because I have the same association with it as you do, which is, it’s the first movie I saw sitting in my dad’s lap, four years old, May of ’77. I think it’s possible that sometimes when you hold something in such high reverence and esteem, you start to get in the kitchen and you just go, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t be cooking. Maybe I should just be eating.’ We’ll just leave it at that point.”

Damon Lindelof joins a growing list of filmmakers who didn’t get to see their vision of Star Wars hit the big screen. Notoriously Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street) were let go from Solo: A Star Wars Story after allegedly shooting around seventy percent of the anthology flick. Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) parted ways with Lucasfilm when developing Star Wars: Episode IX, which was taken over by JJ Abrams. Game of Thrones show runners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, were set to create a series of Star Wars films for Lucasfilm, but parted ways not long into development of the project after they signed a lucrative deal with Netflix. More recently Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron and an untitled project being produced by Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, were both shelved. In addition to the Obaid-Chinoy project, currently in development we have a film being written and directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Love and Thunder), Free Guy’s Shawn Levy on board to direct a film, and Rian Johnson’s trilogy is still on the cards.

Lucasfilm have ran into various troubles with their Star Wars films over the course of several years, whether it be whilst a project is filming, or more commonly in the process of a film being developed. It’s not uncommon for films in development not to see the light of day for most studios, but it’s becoming common practice for Lucasfilm, with fans never truly believing a film project will see the light of day, even if the movie has been officially announced by Lucasfilm. On the flip side, Lucasfilm have experienced massive success with TV series, with The Mandalorian becoming a flagship series for Disney+, Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett becoming commercial hits, and Andor finding mass critical acclaim. The Mandalorian spawned the successful spin-off series, The Book of Boba Fett, and will see two more spin-off arrive this year in Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew.

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