Exclusive: Why is Gary Whitta No Longer Writing Star Wars?

If you’re here for some Earth-shattering shake-up news, then you’re likely going to leave disappointed.  However, if you’re curious (who isn’t) as to why Whitta dropped off of the screenwriting duties for Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars movie, then you’re in luck.  We’ve heard from our sources that the change up is for a couple of reasons (both of which are amicable as we’ve been hearing), the first and foremost being that he was actually hired on to do ONLY the basic draft of the script.  

The basic story for the standalone was already in place, being hammered out by a few people and run through the new Lucasfilm story-group (so that everything fits together nice and tight), and Whitta was brought on to create the script based on those ideas and generally flesh it out.  That was his job, and he’s been hard at work on it for the last year, which likely means this isn’t the first draft he’s done.  From there, he was set to move on (which apparently he’s been off for a few weeks now) and then have someone else come into finalize the script, polish it up, and generally make sure it’s the best it can be.  

This isn’t a new thing, by any stretch of the imagination, as studios have long used this model to develop their films, bringing in writers to finish a script from the basic draft, and we hear about it all the time.  The reason this seems like such a big deal is that it’s freaking STAR WARS, and people seemed to want to sensationalize the news.  

As for Simon Kinberg taking over (our source confirms Slashfilm’s report…which you should have believed anyway), our source has heard Whitta’s script was also too “big” budget-wise to film.  His script would have been too expensive to film, so Kinberg will be tweaking things to make it more manageable.  That being said, Whitta’s script/story will remain largely intact, with the rough spots ironed out.  

To me, all of this sounds like business as usual (I told you at the start it wasn’t Earth-shattering), but since it’s Star Wars, and LFL continues to play the cards close to the chest, people are much more keenly interested in what’s going on. What do you guys think about all this?