Director Josh Trank has explained his much-debated reasons for leaving a new Star Wars spinoff film last month. “I want to do something original after this because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life,” the filmmaker recently told The Los Angeles Times, referring to the stressful period he spent helming this year’s Fantastic Four. “And it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar.”
Trank was hired to work on the upcoming Stars Wars title – the second of two planned stand-alone films from Lucasfilm/Disney – last year. In May, the director announced his decision to exit, calling it a “personal decision to move forward on a different path.” Though he didn’t expect any fallout from his decision, he’s faced widespread blowback in the aftermath.
“At first I was like, ‘I’m just not going to say anything because it will blow over,'” Trank said. “But I was shocked – it just hasn’t blown over. People get so excited to raise their pitchforks. I knew that this was going to be questioned and it was going to come under skepticism as to why I left Star Wars. And it was hard. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.'”
Following the announcement, some speculated that the filmmaker had been fired from the project due to “erratic behavior” on the Fantastic Four set and a rumored feud with Simon Kinberg, who co-wrote Four and is producing the Star Wars spinoff. But Trank – with Kingberg at his side – fired back against those claims to the Times, saying, “None of those facts were true – and any of the facts that were true were spun in such a maliciously wrong way.” He also noted that the two have become “closer” through this bizarre process.
“This, I would say, is particularly cruel,” Kingberg said of the gossip. “I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair.”
The as-yet-untitled Star Wars film isn’t expected to hit theaters until 2019. The first stand-alone title, the Gareth Edwards-directed and Felicity Jones-starring Rogue One, will be released December 16th, 2016.
Fantastic Four will open August 7th. In the meantime, check out a brooding trailer for the Marvel origin story.