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J.D. Dillard: Star Wars Film Is "Unfortunately No Longer A Thing"

Earlier today, it was reported that Shawn Levy was in talks to direct a Star Wars film at some point, and during that article, we mentioned all of the Star Wars movies we could think of off the tops of our heads and then said, "others that we probably forgot." One of the ones we forgot was a movie by director J.D. Dillard, which was announced in early 2020. Much like all Star Wars projects on the big screen, there hasn't been any movement on the film since the announcement was made, but today we got some bad news. Dillard is out doing the rounds for the historical epic Devotion, which is set to drop later this month, and was getting interviewed by The Wrap. They asked Dillard about his Star Wars project, and not only did he reveal that it isn't happening, but he also revealed that he is no longer attached to The Rocketeer sequel, The Return of the Rocketeer as well.

J.D. Dillard: Star Wars Film "No Longer A Thing"
J.D. Dillard attends the ATT Untold Stories during Tribeca Festival at Spring Studios. Editorial credit: lev radin /

Bad News For Star Wars And Rocketeer Fans

Dillard has been a rising star for the last couple of years, but the fantastically underrated Sweetheart in 2019 was the thing that put him on a lot of studio's radars. So it wasn't that surprising that Disney was trying to grab new and exciting talent for two major projects for the studio. However, Dillard explained that the Star Wars project was not happening anymore. He explained to The Wrap that it is "unfortunately no longer a thing" and that "it was not for lack of trying." However, Dillard is still keen to explore space in future films, but "it will be an original idea." When asked if he could give any details about the movie he was working on, Dillard didn't give much, but he did explain how the early Star Wars computer game TIE Fighter changed his life.

"My dad being an aviator, we had a bunch of flight simulators," Dillard said, including "TIE Fighter." "I'm playing this game for months. And my dad's flying it with me. And I'm like, 'Man, this game is just so cool.' And he's like, 'Well, you know, this game comes from a series of movies.' And I was like, 'You're kidding me.' That is where I watched 'Star Wars' for the first time and realized the full scope of what it meant to world build because I'd been playing this pseudo-16-bit game."

J.D. Dillard: Star Wars Film "No Longer A Thing"
Developer: Totally Games. Publisher: LucasArts 1994

The Star Wars news is a bummer, but it's also sad to hear that Dillard isn't going to be working on The Rocketeer sequel either. He was first linked to that project in early 2020 as well, but the film has gone through some re tinkering since then. In August 2021, a new screenplay draft was commissioned, with David Oyelowo and his wife Jessica coming on as producers. The rumors even say that Oyelowo could also star. The last we heard about the plot was also in August 2021, and it would focus "on a retired Tuskegee airman who takes up the Rocketeer mantle." Dillard revealed to The Wrap that he is also not involved with that project anymore as well.

"I am not on that movie," Dillard said. "But, you know, it's tricky. I love, love, love 'The Rocketeer.' What I have a slightly hard time wrapping my head around now is going back to pre-1970 aviation. You know, I'm not saying never. But I think I need a breather from period aviation."

If you're looking at the brief story of what they are looking to do with The Return of the Rocketeer and the plot of the upcoming Devotion, you might see some similarities pop up, and while Dillard admits that he has "no idea what version of that story they're putting together," it would likely "it would have a lot of common DNA" with the movie that he has coming out this month. Dillard specifically went on to say, "I'm definitely trying to, as hopefully, you can tell between 'Sleight,' 'Sweetheart,' and 'Devotion,' not to make the same movie twice. I'm going to keep it steady on that."

Devotion: Summary, Cast, Release Date

Devotion, an aerial war epic based on the bestselling book of the same name, tells the inspirational true story of two elite US Navy fighter pilots who helped turn the tide in the most brutal battle in the Korean War: Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in Navy history and his fellow fighter pilot and friend, Tom Hudner. Their heroic sacrifices and enduring friendship would ultimately make them the Navy's most celebrated wingmen. Devotion is directed by J.D. Dillard and stars Jonathan Majors, Glen Powell, Christina Jackson, Thomas Sadoski, and Joe Jonas. It will be released on November 23, 2022.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on Twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on Instagram.
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