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David Benioff, left, and D.B. Weiss accept the award for outstanding writing for a drama series for Game of Thrones at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angelesin September 2015. Photo: Phil McCarten/Invision/AP

New Star Wars films on way from TV’s Game of Thrones creators

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who will write and produce the series, are long-time fans of the Star Wars franchise

Star Wars

Disney on Tuesday announced it was expanding its Star Wars universe, hiring the creators behind HBO’s massive hit Game of Thrones to write a new series of films set in the galaxy far, far away.

Walt Disney said in a statement that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would write and produce the new series, which will be separate from both the episodic Skywalker saga and the recently announced trilogy being developed by director Rian Johnson.

No release dates or plot details were given.

Daisy Ridley in a still from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Photo: Lucasfilm via AP

Shares in Disney, which also reported a quarterly profit that topped forecasts on Tuesday, rose nearly 3 per cent in after-hours trading.

Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said that Benioff and Weiss’ “command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting.”

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Disney is also developing “a few” Star Wars television series for an upcoming streaming service from the company, Chief Executive Bob Iger said.

In November, Disney announced that Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi , would write and direct the first of a new trilogy of films in the sci-fi franchise that would bring new characters and worlds not yet explored to the screen.

Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Woody Harrelson as Beckett, Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra and Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in a still from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The Last Jedi, released in December 2017, has earned more than US$1.3 billion at the global box office.

Disney had previously committed to making three stand-alone Star Wars films outside the Skywalker saga. They include 2016’s Rogue One , and May 2018 release Solo: A Star Wars Story, which follows the origins of the roguish smuggler Han Solo, made famous by Harrison Ford in the original 1977 film.

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Game of Thrones, based on novels by George R.R. Martin, is a huge hit internationally for HBO and has won multiple awards. The seventh season last year was watched by some 30 million viewers in the US alone.

Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen in a still from Game of Thrones. Photo: AP

The final season is due to be broadcast in 2019, bringing to a close the saga of the warring families in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and their multigeneration struggle for control of the Iron Throne.

Benioff and Weiss said on Tuesday they had long been Star Wars fans.

“In the summer of 1977 we travelled to a galaxy far, far away, and we’ve been dreaming of it ever since,” they said. “We are honoured by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of Game of Thrones is complete.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Thrones creators now turn to Star Wars