'Star Wars' standalone film loses director Josh Trank

'Star Wars' Standalone Film Loses Director Josh Trank

Josh Trank has exited the Star Wars universe.

Trank was set to direct the second spinoff in the new series of films. In a statement posted on the official Star Wars site, Trank wrote:

"After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I'm making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I've put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the Star Wars universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn't be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow Star Wars fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all."

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'Star Wars' standalone film loses director Josh Trank
David Prowse as Darth Vader in a scene from the film 'Star Wars', 1977. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)
English actor David Prowse (L), who played the character of Darth Vader (Dark Vador in French) in the first Star Wars trilogy poses with a fan dressed up in a Darth Vader costume during a Star Wars convention on April 27, 2013 in Cusset. AFP PHOTO THIERRY ZOCCOLAN (Photo credit should read THIERRY ZOCCOLAN/AFP/Getty Images)
STAR WARS signed photo of David Prowse showing him in his classic role of Darth Vader
JUN 15 1977, MAY 30 1978, JUN 4 1978; 'Star Wars' has Given three Performers that 'All-Important Break'; Featured in the popular science fantasy movie are, from left, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.; (Photo By Steve Larson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
In a scene from George Lucas' epic space opera Star Wars, the American actor Harrison Ford as rebel smuggler Han Solo draws a gun against enemies; behind him can be seen a fantastic space shuttle. USA, 1977. . (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 29: Actor Harrison Ford's Han Solo character from 'Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi' is shown on screen while musicians perform during 'Star Wars: In Concert' at the Orleans Arena May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The traveling production features a full symphony orchestra and choir playing music from all six of John Williams' Star Wars scores synchronized with footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, HD LED screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 29: The Star Wars prop of actor Harrison Ford's Han Solo character frozen in carbonite is displayed at the museum exhibit of 'Star Wars: In Concert' at the Orleans Arena May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The traveling production features a full symphony orchestra and choir playing music from all six of John Williams' Star Wars scores synchronized with footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, HD LED screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completed principal photography. #StarWarsVII #TheForceAwakens http://t.co/mFTP9YbKNN
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Trank, 30, came to prominence with his 2012 found-footage superhero movie Chronicle and is currently finishing the Fantastic Four reboot for Fox. That film has an August release date.

Trank raised eyebrows when he didn't show up for a planned presentation at Disney's Star Wars Celebration in April. At the time, Disney and Trank said he was not feeling well, with Trank tweeting that he had "worst flu of my life." But sources say Trank was asked by Disney executives not to attend the event.

Rumors have persisted that Fox is unhappy with Trank's performance on Fantastic Four and that Kinberg, who is producing both that film and the second Star Wars spinoff, was getting cold feet about working with Trank again.

In statement, Lucasfilm vp development Hart said, "It was a privilege to collaborate with Josh. We are grateful for the energy and love of Star Wars that he brought to the process, and we wish him all the best."

The search for a new director is on. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set for release Dec. 18. The first standalone movie, Star Wars: Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards, will follow in December 2016.

More from The Hollywood Reporter:
Inside a 'Star Wars' Firing: 'Fantastic Four' Problems Led to Director Josh Trank's Ouster
'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Set for Massive $85M-Plus Friday, Eyes Record U.S. Debut
Robert Downey Jr. Explains Why He Isn't Excited About Making Some Arthouse Movies

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