David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ Scrapped Projects Since ‘Game of Thrones’

The Big Picture

  • Benioff and Weiss faced backlash for their planned HBO slavery drama series Confederate, which was considered problematic and messy to execute due to two white men running a show on slavery.
  • They were also set to oversee a Star Wars trilogy but likely chose to leave the project due to Disney’s risk-averse approach and their own track record as risk-takers.
  • Their upcoming project, the adaptation of the sci-fi novel The Three-Body Problem, is expected to hit Netflix in March 2024

Before Game of Thrones ended, even with the criticisms of the seasons made beyond the novels by George R. R. Martin, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss were on top of the world. Game of Thrones was (and still is) a sensation. That is, at least until the finale aired. Suddenly, it felt like everyone was against Benioff and Weiss because of how rushed and unsatisfying the ending of the beloved series was. How have Weiss and Benioff handled their projects following Game of Thrones? The team had originally planned to join forces with Lucasfilm, pitching a film called The First Jedi. Benioff and Weiss recently explained their failed Star Wars film in an interview for 3 Body Problem as “How the Jedi Order came to be, why it came to be, the first lightsaber …” Well, those projects, including an original HBO series, never really materialized. So what happened here, exactly?

3 Body Problem Book Cover

3 Body Problem

A young woman’s fateful decision in 1960s China reverberates across space and time into the present day. When the laws of nature inexplicably unravel before their eyes, a close-knit group of brilliant scientists join forces with an unflinching detective to confront the greatest threat in humanity’s history.

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David Benioff , D.B. Weiss , Alexander Woo

Weiss and Benioff’s HBO Series ‘Confederate’ Was Dead on Arrival

Before the final season of Game of Thrones, it was announced that Benioff and Weiss would be at the helm of a new HBO slavery drama series titled Confederate, and it was met with immediate backlash. This show would have focused on an alternate history where the confederacy won the Civil War and created an America where enslavement is still legal, with a new Civil War on the horizon. The problems are already pretty clear. Two white men running a show on slavery? This project was problematic from the start, and for many reasons, is just too messy to execute anyway.

Game of Thrones was known for its morally gray position on characters. Nearly everyone does terrible things to survive in that world. What is troubling for the dreamed-up world of Confederate is that it is not some far-removed fantasy world. It is our world. An alternate future, sure, but nevertheless based on “reality.” A show that would “show both sides” is not something that we ever need, and certainly not a show that should be run by two white men who have already received criticism for their portrayal of people of color and women in Game of Thrones.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Almost Joined Star Wars

Benioff and Weiss, in addition to Confederate, were set to oversee a Star Wars trilogy, drafting at least one of them directly after the ending of Game of Thrones. While not much is known about what this unmade trilogy would have been about, the duo was interested in exploring the mystical origins of the Jedi. Though it will never be made, at least with them attached, it is probably easy to see why they ultimately chose to leave the project. Disney, who owns the Star Wars property, is famously known to take very few risks in their productions. Benioff and Weiss are two men who would likely be risk-takers (just look at their track record). For better or worse, Game of Thrones became known as the show where no characters are safe (at least for a time).

Benioff and Weiss are not the only ones to abandon their projects or be forced out of their roles in a galaxy far, far away. Patty Jenkins was set to direct Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, though it is seemingly left in limbo after the film was removed from the Disney schedule of releases. Though she says it’s still in active development, that does not guarantee it will ever happen. Another big name is Knives Out director Rian Johnson, who directed the infamous Star Wars: The Last Jedi which was met with sharp rejection on its release, only to grow more beloved by the fans now. Johnson also had a Star Wars trilogy in the works, but after the reaction to The Last Jedi, and the unfortunate course correction that gave us the disappointment that was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, that too has been removed. Benioff and Weiss, however, were not seemingly forced off, instead leaving the project after signing a deal with Netflix.

The Success of Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem’ Is Key for Weiss and Benioff

Eliza González as Auggie Salazar in ‘3 Body Problem’
Image via Netflix

Benioff and Weiss’ deal with Netflix includes their next adaptation of an epic sci-fi novel: The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. The Three-Body Problem is about humanity’s first contact with a collapsing extraterrestrial civilization that plans to invade Earth after capturing our signal. The people of Earth divide themselves, with some planning to welcome them and help them take over the corrupt government and others planning to fight against the invaders. 3 Body Problem seems just up Benioff and Weiss’ alley of storytelling. It is a complex story to be told, and the early seasons of Game of Thrones prove they can adapt this well.

It also helps that this time, they aren’t waiting for books to be finished. The show is even bringing back some Game of Thrones alums like John Bradley and Liam Cunningham. Benioff and Weiss, despite making one of the most culturally relevant shows ever, really did not deliver on its ending. That hurt them a lot, leaving a pretty rough few years in the wake of Game of Thrones. While the last few projects never got off the ground, let’s hope that Benioff and Weiss can prove they still have the magic that they captured in Game of Thrones with 3 Body Problem, which is set for a March 2024 release.

All episodes of Game of Thrones is available to stream on Max.

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