Josh Trank is no longer attached to direct the second Star Wars Anthology film, nor will he be a part of the production in any way, shape or form moving forward. The announcement was made on the official Star Wars website late Friday evening as Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron was on a record-setting pace to break the weekend box office record held by its predecessor.
Rumors of trouble in Star Wars paradise first arose last month when Trank was mysteriously absent from a panel at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim where fellow Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards appeared to talk about his film and reveal a piece of concept art. The reasoning for Trank’s absence was officially stated as due to illness, and Trank backed that up with a Tweet suggesting he had a horrible flu.
History reminds us there are issues behind-the-scenes when filmmakers fail to show up at big panels without warning, especially when the panel involves a high profile project. Producer Frank Darabont failed to show at The Walking Dead Comic-Con panel a few years ago and shortly thereafter it was confirmed that he was no longer attached to the AMC series.
As a result, Lucasfilm’s announcement at Trank’s departure on Friday came as a surprise to no one.
Trank’s official statement regarding the split was deliberately void of sound reasoning to depart a coveted Star Wars movie.
“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.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Trank’s decision to leave wasn’t his decision at all. Producer Simon Kinberg, who worked with Trank on Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot and is also producing the Star Wars Anthology film, reportedly relayed a host of issues including indecisiveness, poor communication and letting his five small dogs tear apart an expensive rented apartment, from Trank’s performance and behavior at Fox to Lucasfilm and Disney executives, including Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. These issues ultimately gave that brain trust cold feet in entrusting a Star Wars film to an erratic and unpredictable — albeit obviously skilled — filmmaker, and thus the two sides mutually parted ways.
Now the hunt is on for a replacement to direct the second Anthology film and an opportunity for a lucky director to put their stamp on a Star Wars film. Expect a selection to be made sooner rather than later. The second Star Wars Anthology film is expected to be released in 2018 following Star Wars: Episode VIII.