Josh Trank has decided to leave the the Star Wars anthology film he was scheduled to direct.
Trank was set to direct the Star Wars anthology film (the new official title of the Star Wars standalone/spinoff films) that is scheduled to be released in 2018, the year between the releases of Star Wars: Episode VIII and Episode IX.
Though it’s hard to imagine why a young director would want to depart making a Star Wars film, we’ve had a feeling for a while that Trank might not end up directing this film. There had been rumors for a while that he might not direct, and he didn’t even show up at his Star Wars Celebration panel where he was supposed to present with Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards. He cited the worst flu of his life as the reason for his absence, but we had a feeling there was more to it than that.
An official statement from Trank said, “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.”
Lucasfilm VP of Development Kiri Hart added, “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.”
Despite the nice words, Trank’s departure may not be as clean as the press release makes it sound. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter, “Rumors have persisted that Fox is unhappy with Trank’s performance on Fantastic Four and that [Simon] Kinberg, who is producing both that film and the second Star Wars spinoff, was getting cold feet about working with Trank again.”
As for Star Wars Celebration, THR says “Trank was asked by Disney executives not to attend the event.”
Lucasfilm will continue to develop the project and hopefully they’ll have a new director soon.