The discourse around Game of Thrones reached a fever pitch this week, as fans and critics debated whether the series’ penultimate episode—in which Daenerys Targaryen used Drogon to burn King’s Landing—was properly established in the show’s narrative. But wherever you stand on Thrones’ final episodes, it seems the one thing that everybody can agree upon is that the last two seasons have been unnecessarily rushed.
Now, before you aim the digital pitchforks at HBO, know that company execs were totally cool with Thrones sticking to its typical 10-episode seasons: The decision to go with truncated installments was made by the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Benioff and Weiss—or D&D, as they’re often referred to with intense enmity on Reddit—have been subjected to a lot of online vitriol. Previous interviews with cast members have been cast in a new light, suggesting that actors have been aware for a while that Thrones’ final season was bad and were trying to warn us in Press Junket Morse Code. Again, not everybody feels this way—[whispers] I actually really liked the Dany-is-a-war-criminal episode!—and haters are often the loudest voices, but viewers have had an undeniably tense relationship with the final season of Thrones. And D&D, the people literally responsible for writing the final four episodes, have been the focal point of these frustrations.
Anyway, Disney decided this week would be a great time to remind everyone that these two dudes will soon be taking over the Star Wars franchise!
To be fair, we’ve known that D&D will be presiding over their own Star Wars trilogy for more than a year—but it was easy to forget about D&D’s future projects when the ending of one of the biggest television shows in history was still hovering over our heads. Star Wars is also juggling a separate trilogy that will eventually be helmed by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, so it wasn’t exactly clear who’d get first crack at a post–Rise of Skywalker landscape. Alas, it’s official: The first of D&D’s Star Wars films will arrive in 2022.
Unsurprisingly, Star Wars fans—especially those who are also devout Thrones watchers—are reacting to this revelation like someone just lit a cigarette next to a cache of wildfire. There are obviously some big concerns that the guys who thought capturing a wight and presenting it to Cersei Lannister was a great idea will now be in charge of one of the most beloved franchises in the world. Star Wars fans have already lived through the trauma of midichlorians and Jar Jar Binks; would we survive an entire trilogy from the fellas who used all their Thrones goodwill to try to make a show in which the South won the Civil War?
It is way too early to have a definitive takeaway on Benioff and Weiss’s Star Wars trilogy, even by blog boy hot-take standards. We don’t even know what the films are going to be about: Disney has been mum on most things Star Wars, but has said J.J. Abrams’s forthcoming The Rise of Skywalker will spell the end of the Skywalker saga for the franchise. The galaxy is far, far away; it’s also full of terrors and creative possibilities. David Benioff’s résumé includes a screenwriting credit for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is indefensible, but he also handled The Kite Runner adaptation and Brothers, which have both had much better receptions. (D.B. Weiss’s résumé pretty much begins and ends with Thrones, so depending on how you feel about the series, that’s either a blessing or a curse.)
Perhaps we should heed Kylo Ren’s words and let the past die. Thrones was its own beast, and in D&D’s defense—internet, please don’t kill me with a smoke monster birthed from the womb of a 400-year-old priestess with the luminous gaze of Carice van Houten!—they adapted the series for HBO with the understanding that George R.R. Martin would be finished with his final two books by the time they arrived at their own endgame. When D&D were tasked with adapting Martin’s text—over the first five-odd seasons—the results were mostly good, and sometimes brilliant. They held up their end of the bargain until Martin didn’t hold up his. (At least GRRM’s New York Giants takes remain super entertaining.)
However, D&D’s creative peaks were adapting written material. Even if they borrow ideas from Star Wars mythology, this trilogy is something they’d effectively be working on from the ground up. And again—I can’t say this enough—the last time they had a blank check, they wanted to write an alt-history in which the South won the Civil War. I shudder to think how they could top prequel dialogue such as, “I don’t like sand,” or create DVD commentary where they’re like, “When Obi-Wan tells Anakin that he has the high ground, he is letting his padawan know that he has the advantage in the lightsaber duel. There is lava on Mustafar, and touching it would be dangerous.”
But assuming this trilogy doesn’t go the way of Book of Henry auteur Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX, the era of D&D’s Star Wars will soon be upon us. To quote Peter Dinklage, possibly threatening us: “You people are in for it.”
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.