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A Westeros far, far away: what will happen when Game of Thrones meets Star Wars?

The Guardian logo The Guardian 08/02/2018 Luke Holland
© David Benioff and DB Weiss

If you’re a Star Wars fan, the next decade will see thy cup of blue milk runneth over. In addition to the ninth instalment of the saga proper in December 2019, this May’s Han Solo spinoff, Rian Johnson’s new trilogy, the rumoured Obi Wan Kenobi standalone movie and the clutch of TV shows Disney has in development, Lucasfilm has now announced that, once Game of Thrones is done and dusted, its showrunners, David Benioff and DB Weiss, will write and produce yet another trilogy of new films. It seems the galaxy far, far away is likely to never be that far away at all, from now until the end of time.

Whether this full-frontal assault will result in audience Force-fatigue remains to be seen. An argument could be made that, if the quality of output remains as high as it has been since George Lucas handed over the keys, that point may not come for a long while yet. The more intriguing question, though, is what writers with Benioff and Weiss’s decidedly non-kid-friendly credentials might come up with, given a whole new space-opera sandbox to muck around in.


With the inevitable box-office shortfall that results from a movie being lumbered with the cursed “R” rating, it seems doubtful Lucasfilm would ever let Benioff and Weiss indulge the sweary, violent, fornicatory tendencies that lent themselves so neatly to Westeros. It makes bad business sense. Preventing kids from seeing a film costs the studio money in ticket sales, and Star Wars movies are, let’s not forget, kids’ films made by Disney. But even with this taken into account, is the idea of a dark, brutal, Game of Thrones-y Star Wars-for-grownups really so far-fetched?

For all its dragons, giants, magic and and castrations, Game of Thrones is, at heart, an intensely political character-based drama. Yes, it has spectacle, and Benioff and Weiss’s ability to deliver this will do their Star Wars prospects no harm whatsoever. But Game of Thrones has always been at its best when sculpting deep, flawed, believable characters, and then laughing as it throws them through the most savage emotional wringers it can concoct. Battles and explosions are merely the cherry on top. You could remove all of Game of Thrones’s fantastical elements entirely and it would still make for compelling TV, so flinging it into space is unlikely to lose any of what makes it great.


A hard–R Goodfellas-on-spaceships swearathon isn’t what an “adult” Star Wars needs to be. The Dark Knight is still regarded as the paragon of what it’s possible to squeeze beneath the barrier of a PG-13/12A certificate. Anyone who still panics every time a pencil goes anywhere near their eye will know why. Rogue One was no Frozen, either – it’s a dark, mature war film in which literally everyone is killed to death. Benioff and Weiss could still make a nasty little political thrillogy here, should they wish to without troubling the censors and, ergo, the moneymen too much.

Of course, the Star Wars prequels also tried to do political drama. They failed, hard. But, if you looked really, really closely, there was the kernel of something brilliant there: trade disputes, secret war preparations, the rise of a despot, the on-the-ground brutalities of realpolitik – all of these could have made for a complex narrative, played out on a truly epic galactic canvas. Instead, George Lucas delivered dialogue so wooden it gave you tetanus and a frankly disturbing “romance” between Padmé and that little snotbag Anakin, all while somehow turning the Jedi – psychokinetic badasses with laser-swords, remember – into a whimpering throng of goody-two-shoe space-prefect dullards. It was practically an achievement.

But Benioff and Weiss know how to do intrigue, twists, character and high stakes. Their trilogy could be the sprawling political epic the prequels tried so ineptly to be – the one a universe as rich and detailed as this deserves. Wars fought in the corridors of power. Divided loyalties. Poisonous ambition. Death! Betrayal! Bloody laser-sword assassinations! Star Wars is ripe with possibilities for yarns on smaller, Machiavellian levels of cloak-and-dagger backstabbery, and Thrones had these in spades. One presumes this is the very reason Benioff and Weiss got the Star Wars job at all. Which, you have to admit, is quite exciting.

If we are to receive a new Star Wars film every year for ever, they were always going to have to diversify. As a statement of intent as to what this might actually entail, Benioff and Weiss’s appointment is a bold one. It’s also, like almost every other decision Lucasfilm seems to be making at the moment, 100% the right choice.

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