The now-canceled Star Wars movie from Game of Thrones creators Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss would have told the story of the First Jedi. Though no longer planned (along with films by Kevin Feige and Patty Jenkins), Weiss and Benioff haven’t talked openly about their proposed Star Wars film until now. Based on their description, The First Jedi would have been an origin story of the Jedi Order, revealing who began the Jedi traditions, built the first lightsaber, and how the order formed. It’s a story that has been told before in the old Star Wars expanded universe, but never on-screen or in the current Star Wars canon.
“We wanted to do The First Jedi,” Benioff revealed to Variety “Basically how the Jedi Order came to be, why it came to be, the first lightsaber…”
“And we were annoyed as hell when [Rian Johnson] called his movie The Last Jedi,” Weiss added (in what is almost certainly a good-natured ribbing as Johnson is friends with the creative duo and produces their new Netflix series, The Three-Body Problem. “He completely destroyed the obvious title for what we were working on.”
It seems like a solid enough idea. Ultimately, though, Benioff says Lucasfilm decided they weren’t interested in telling that tale. “[Lucasfilm] ended up not wanting to do a First Jedi story,” he said. “We had a very specific story idea in mind, and ultimately they decided they didn’t want to do that. And we totally get it. It’s their company and their IP, but we weren’t the droids they were looking for.”
What about Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi?
The keyword in Benioff’s statement there may be “specific.” Lucasfilm may not have wanted to tell The First Jedi as Weiss and Benioff imagined it, but they are interested in telling the Jedi’s origin story. James Mangold is developing a Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi movie that will shed light on the Jedi Order’s earliest days.
“It just came from me thinking about if I were doing one, it seemed to me that most of what they were thinking about doing with movies were either in the present of Star Wars or the future,” Mangold told ComicBook.com at Star Wars Celebration in 2023, “and what attracted me most was the distant past and how this galaxy formed and how, more specifically, the Force was discovered.” Mangold has gone on to say that his film, which is still without a release date, is inspired by historical epics like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments.
Who is the First Jedi?
In the current Star Wars canon, the First Jedi is known as the Prime Jedi. The Prime Jedi has never been depicted first-hand, instead appearing in an iconographic representation in a mosaic seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. (Maybe Johnson was trying to tee up his friends?) According to supplemental materials, the Prime Jedi is the first Jedi to use the Force and the founder of the Jedi Order on the planet Ahch-To, the site of the first Jedi Temple.
In the old Star Wars expanded universe, now classified as Star Wars Legends, the Jedi Order had multiple founders: Jedi Masters Cala Brin, Garon Jard, Rajivari, and Ters Sendon. The order formed on Tython and first practiced balance in the force, including acknowledgment of the Dark Side, until Rajivari and others fell to the Dark Side completely, sparking the Force Wars and the seemingly irreconcilable division between light side users and Dark Jedi.
What next for the Star Wars movies?
While several Star Wars films have been announced and canceled in the years since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opened in theaters, Star Wars has found new success on streaming with its Disney+ shows. Those series seem to now form the cornerstone of Star Wars’ cinematic future, with Lucasfilm announcing The Mandalorian & Grogu film this week and Dave Filoni working on a film that will presumably build on what he’s seeded in Ahsoka (while also developing Ahsoka Season 2).
But those aren’t the only cinematic ambitions for the galaxy far, far away. Mangold’s Dawn of the Jedi will explore ancient Star Wars history, and the upcoming Star Wars film starring Daisy Ridley as Rey Skywalker will explore the Star Wars galaxy’s future.