With an announcement that has rocked the internet, Chronicle director Josh Trank has left the Untitled Star Wars Anthology Project, which is to be the second standalone film in the newly expanded universe after 2016’s Star Wars: Rogue One. In a statement released on the official Star Wars website, Trank commented:
After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the Star Wars universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow Star Wars fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.
Although Trank sites “original creative opportunities” as a motivating factor for leaving, speculation regarding discord between the director and Disney have been brewing for some time. Trank was not in attendance for Disney’s April Star Wars celebration, which the studio and Trank wrote off as illness, but which sources involved (according to The Hollywood Reporter) now hint that he was asked not to appear.
Kinberg, the spinoff’s screenwriter and producer for Fox has recently wrapped the Fantastic Four reboot with Trank, a film that has been tinged with fan apprehension since it was first announced. The fact that the two have split from a second film together may likely exacerbate the controversy upon the film’s release. It also wouldn’t be surprising if the rumored FF sequel – which currently has Trank directing – will be put under new consideration as well.
Despite this unfortunate news, Disney and Lucasfilm will be moving on with the second Star Wars Anthology film, with an added search for a new director. Hart, the VP of Lucasfilm, released a statement, saying “It was a privilege to collaborate with Josh. We are grateful for the energy and love of Star Wars that he brought to the process, and we wish him all the best.”
In the meantime, Star Wars: Rogue One, to be directed by Gareth Andrews (Godzilla) and star Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and Ben Mendelsohn (The Place Beyond the Pines) will begin shooting this summer prior to the December release of the next saga film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.