There's been a disturbance in the Force. Josh Trank, who was attached to direct a stand-alone "Star Wars" film, has departed the project, Lucasfilm announced Friday.
The 31-year-old filmmaker behind "Chronicle" and the upcoming "Fantastic Four" reboot said in a statement, "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."
Trank added that "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."
Trank was to direct the second of Lucasfilm's planned stand-alone "Star Wars" movies, which are to take place alongside the franchise's core saga. The film does not yet have a release date but is expected in 2018.
"Godzilla" helmer Gareth Edwards is directing the first such "anthology" film, "Rogue One," scheduled for release Dec. 16, 2016. Meanwhile, the main "Star Wars" saga returns with "Episode VII: The Force Awakens" this Dec. 18. "Star Wars: Episode VIII" is due in 2017, and "Episode IX" in 2019.
Earlier this month, Trank was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion with Edwards at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, only to no-show. His absence raised eyebrows, even as he tweeted that he was suffering from "the worst flu of my life."
In a statement about Trank's departure from the "Star Wars" universe on Friday, Kiri Hart, vice president of development at Lucasfilm, said, "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."
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