Fantastic Four director Josh Trank will no longer direct the second Star Wars spin-off.
The 30 year-old was due to helm the second of Disney and Lucasfilm’s standalone movies, which will diverge from the core saga.
In a statement posted on the Star Wars official site, Trank said: “After a year of having the incredible honour 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.”
Rumours of Tranks’ imminent departure first emerged when he failed to attend Disney’s Star Wars Celebration in April. The director blamed illness, tweeting an apology: “Hey all. So, so, so sad to have missed today. Worst flu of my life.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter however, Trank was asked by Disney executives not to attend the event. Sources blame the young director’s “erratic” and uncommunicative” behaviour while filming Fantastic Four, which is due to be released in August and had to be reshot in parts.
Variety reports that Fantastic Four’s screenwriter Simon Kinberg, who is due to produce the second standalone movie, isn’t keen to work with Trank again. It seems Kinberg and Trank “clashed” filming the superhero reboot, which is due out in August. Kinberg is also a writer on the X-Men films and creative consultant on JJ Abrams’ Episode VII.
Lucasfilm said in a statement also posted on the official Star Wars site: “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.”
The first standalone movie, Star Wars: Rogue One, will be directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards and star British actress Felicity Jones, and is expected in December 2016.
JJ Abrams’ Episode VII, The Force Awakens, will be released this December.