Maybe Michael De Luca from Columbia Pictures isn't the only person that thinks Gary Whitta "blows."
A few weeks after an infamous e-mail was leaked from the Sony Hacking scandal, where the Columbia President of Production said "except Whitta whom I think blows," it looks like the writer and LucasFilm are parting ways. Whitta apparently turned in a first draft of the standalone Star Wars spinoff he wrote for Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), and that was the end of that.
The break-up appears to be amicable, with both sides expressing gratitude for the opportunity, but it stands to reason that if LucasFilm loved what they saw that Whitta wouldn't be going anywhere. They likely responded with a bunch of notes and critiques, or told him they'd be bringing in other writers to rewrite his work, and that was enough for him to walk off.
The After Earth writer may now be putting all of his focus on Mark Millar's Superman-esque Starlight.
The Hollywood Reporter got this statement from Whitta in their exclusive report:
"The year I spent working with Lucasfilm on this Star Wars film has been by far the most rewarding period of my entire career. As a lifelong Star Wars fan I’m deeply grateful to have had the rare opportunity to contribute to a new chapter in its ongoing cinematic legacy. The film is going to be amazing."
The film's director also chimed in. Edwards said, "Gary has been a wonderful, inspired contributor and I enjoyed working with him tremendously. I’m so grateful for all of his contributions."
You may recall that Michael Arndt also left, after turning in his script for Star Wars: Episode VII, prompting Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams to step in and rewrite the film that would become The Force Awakens.
Think this means LucasFilm is running a tight ship in terms of quaity control? Or is it a case of the studio being difficult to work with? I think, regardless, it's a good sign that the studio is taking these films seriously and is unwilling to just churn out whatever they can, stamp "Star Wars" on it, and watch the cash roll in.
Still, with this Star Wars standalone slated to premiere on December 16, 2016, and production set to begin later this year, they'd better get their ducks in a row pretty soon.