David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of HBO's "Game of Thrones," were maligned for their handling of the series' final season this year. And stepping from one entertainment property's very passionate fanbase to another's gave them pause.
The duo began reconsidering their commitment to a planned "Star Wars" trilogy partly because of the franchise's "toxic fandom," an anonymous source described to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Who wants to go through that again? Not them," another source "with knowledge of Benioff and Weiss' thinking" told THR. "This was in the 'Life's Too Short' category."
Benioff and Weiss landed a huge global deal with Netflix this year, but still intended to develop their "Star Wars" movies, the first of which is scheduled to hit theaters in 2022. But the duo said in a statement on Monday that "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."
Just this week, Benioff and Weiss were hit with harsh online criticism when a Twitter thread went viral for live-tweeting their "Game of Thrones" discussion at the Austin Film Festival. The pair also pulled out of a San Diego Comic Con panel in July, though HBO attributed their absence to scheduling conflicts.
The final season of "Game of Thrones" was the worst-reviewed season of the series, with an overall critics score of 56% and an audience score of 32% on Rotten Tomatoes.
'Star Wars' has a history of toxic fandom
"Toxic" fans have "review bombed" "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" on Rotten Tomatoes; threatened the movie's director, Rian Johnson; and driven cast members away from social media.
"The Last Jedi" has a 91% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes but a 42% audience score. Not even "Solo," the worst-reviewed and lowest-grossing movie in the Disney era of "Star Wars," has that bad of an audience score.
Other movies, particularly ones with diverse casts like "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel," have faced this kind of "review bombing," in which angry fans bombard a movie with bad ratings to intentionally lower its audience score. The phenomenon forced Rotten Tomatoes to change its audience rating system and users are no longer able to review a movie before its release.
Johnson told The Standard last year that he received death threats from angry fans after "The Last Jedi" hit theaters.
"I knew intellectually what I was letting myself in for, but then when it happens you're like, 'Oh my God, this is intense!'" he said. "It's about knowing you're not going to please everyone. But then you still read someone saying they wish you were dead and it's going to ruin your day."
"The Last Jedi" actress Kelly Marie Tran deleted all of her Instagram posts last year after months of facing online racist and sexist attacks.