In an announcement that surprises almost no one, Chronicle and Fantastic Four director Josh Trank has pulled out of the second Star Wars stand-alone film at Lucasfilm and Disney. Disney initially announced the young director’s hiring last summer to much fanfare, but now it seems that the deal is no more. The official Star Wars website broke the news earlier today with an official statement from Trank himself:
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.
Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s own VP of Development and story head, had this to say about Trank’s departure:
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.
This all sounds like a lovely, cordial parting of ways, but many recent indications have suggested otherwise. Like the unconfirmed reports of Trank’s less-than-professional behavior on the set of this summer’s Fantastic Four. Forum posters claiming to have worked on the Louisiana-based production described the director’s drug-addled hazes and destructive tendencies — literally.
And then there was Trank’s absence from this year’s Star Wars Celebration, where he was supposed to attend a panel about the upcoming “Anthology Films” with Gareth Edwards. Instead, he canceled last minute due to an apparent illness:
According to THR, however, “Trank was asked by Disney executives not to attend the event.” Flu or no flu, the young filmmaker supposedly wasn’t wanted.
The moral of the story? We don’t know yet, but one thing is clear. As our own Mike Ryan puts it: