‘Godzilla 2’ Loses ‘Star Wars’ Director Gareth Edwards

Director Gareth Edwards, who is currently working to bring the first Star Wars Story anthology film, Rogue One, to the screen, has exited the production of Godzilla 2, the highly-anticipated sequel to 2014’s American-franchise reboot.

The split between Edwards, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. was first reported by Deadline, and has been described as an amicable situation. According to them, Edwards has a group of his own projects that he intends to pursue, which have been described as smaller in scope than the two massive franchise pictures he has most recently directed. The split was decided prior to the determination of a release date for Godzilla 2, which was announced earlier this week as March 22, 2019.

Edwards previously helmed 2014’s Godzilla, the first American take on the iconic monster in over a decade. That film debuted to positive reviews, and has set the stage for a cinematic universe of connected movies which will be released in the next few years, the first of which is Kong: Skull Island, currently in production. Legendary went so far as to acquire the rights to several other iconic Toho monsters, including Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah for inclusion in that universe. As the Inquisitr has previously noted, those characters are reportedly set to debut in Godzilla 2.

That sequel will be followed by at least one more American Godzilla film, which will untie the franchise with the cinematic world of King Kong following its 2017 kickoff with Skull Island. Originally planned at Universal, Kong: Skull Island was moved to Warner Bros. last year in order to facilitate the union, which will make its way to the screen on May 20, 2020. Titled Godzilla Vs Kong, the movie will mark the first time the two iconic monsters have done battle onscreen since 1963’s King Kong Vs Godzilla, the third film in Toho’s series to feature the radioactive lizard.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Official Teaser Trailer
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cinematographer: Greig Fraser
Part 1 pic.twitter.com/ThIoIOs6EY

— Motion Picture Arts (@MPAs_Gallery) May 4, 2016

Edwards had only sat in the director’s chair for one movie prior to Godzilla, as io9 reports, but the success of that film was enough to earn him a spot at the helm of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which hits theaters this December. The first in a planned anthology series (which has since been rebranded as Star Wars Stories by Lucasfilm), Rogue One tells the story of the group of rebels responsible for stealing the Death Star plans around which the events of Episode IV turn. The film is unique in that it is the first entry in the Star Wars universe that will tell a story unrelated to the trials of the Skywalker clan. Those events are reserved for the core sequel trilogy, which is set to continue with next year’s Episode VIII. The Star Wars Stories series, meanwhile, will continue with films focusing on a young Han Solo, as well as bounty hunter Boba Fett.

The scheduling of both releases would have required Edwards to segue directly from Rogue One into Godzilla 2, almost as soon as the former film was finished. Io9 points to this as a likely reason that the split between director and studio was in fact amicable. The current iteration of Godzilla 2 was written by Max Borenstein, and while little is known about it aside from the presence of other classic Toho monsters, both Legendary and Warner Bros. are currently searching for a director to replace Edwards.

In the meantime, fans will be able to content themselves with this summer’s Godzilla Resurgence, Toho’s latest entry in their half-century-old flagship franchise. Inspired by the success of Edward’s 2014 reboot, Godzilla Resurgence brings the Japanese version of the King of the Monsters out of a decade-long retirement, and back where he belongs, wreaking havoc on the island nation’s shores.

[Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]