And just like that — David Benioff and DB Weiss ditch Star Wars for their Netflix gig. A light dims in that galaxy far, far away.
Deadline reported the news and featured a statement from the creative dynamic duo:
There are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both Star Wars and our Netflix projects. So we are regretfully stepping away…
We love Star Wars. When George Lucas built it, he built us too. Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything.Deadline
There was an element of celebration when Disney managed to sign Benioff and Weiss. The promise of a new trilogy within the Star Wars universe was tantalizing for fans. Especially if coming from the Game of Thrones show makers.
Netflix had other ideas.
$200 million Netflix deal
It’s easy to say Benioff and Weiss signed with Netflix because of the $200 million deal. But at their level of fame, success and demand, it’s unlikely they were short on money. Plus, they were working for Disney and Lucasfilm. Not exactly backstreet operations. So it’s probable Netflix not only gave them money, but greater creative freedom.
This leads to the $20 question: Did Netflix sign Benioff and Weiss for more content, or to stop Disney from getting their men?
It’s not uncommon. It happens all the time. It’s what European soccer teams do. They buy up talent so others can’t have it. This mindset is necessary for streaming, more so now than ever!
Spending big for new content
In 2018, Netflix spent $12 billion on licensing and acquisition. It’s expected to be $15 billion this year. It’s a massive amount. The reality, though, is that they’re spending double what they’re making! And they’ve been doing that for a few years as they continue to buy up talent at ridiculous prices.
The best example is the deal with American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy. It’s allegedly worth $300 million! He has 10 productions on the go with Netflix and the key thing is, his five-year deal ties him up. No one else can have him.
This is happening across the board with all streaming services. Back catalogs are being recalled, and talent locked down. Whoever gets left at the table — with only old content and limited new content — will wither.
Welcome to the streaming war
So to answer my own question: Hell yes, Netflix picked off Benioff and Weiss to stop Disney! Letting Mickey and Co. have the Game of Thrones show creators would be giving Disney+ content. And Netflix ain’t playing nice. They did lose all the Marvel stuff, including great shows like Daredevil.
It’s Revenge of the Netflix!
Welcome to the streaming wars: A reality TV show coming soon. You can see how we rank each platform on our monthly Best Streaming Services list. Our number one might surprise you.