Leaving the unnamed Star Wars movie was "the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life," director Josh Trank told the LA Times.
Trank announced his departure in early May after a year of working on the second of two announced Star Wars Anthology movies, saying he wanted "to pursue some original creative opportunities."
Unconfirmed reports then circulated that he'd been fired for various reasons, including erratic behavior directing Fantastic Four and disagreements with a co-writer and producer.
"None of those facts were true," Trank said. "And any of the facts that were true were spun in such a maliciously wrong way."
The director of Chronicle and the upcoming Fantastic Four said that, in fact, it was the pressures of living under "public scrutiny" that forced the decision.
"I want to do something original after this because I've been living under public scrutiny, as you've seen, for the last four years of my life," Trank said. "And it's not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar."
Trank told the LA Times that Lucasfilm was understanding.
"I have a great relationship with everyone at Lucasfilm and with Kari Hart," he said. "And they all understood it because this whole experience for me has been very psychologically hard."
The co-writer and producer he was supposedly feuding with, Simon Kinberg, also came to Trink's defense.
"I’ve been around some version of this for a long time," Kinberg said. "This, I would say, is particularly cruel. I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair."
In the same post in which Trank announced his departure, Lucasfilm said that the company is "continuing to develop the project."
Trank was slated to direct the third in a new wave of Star Wars movies. Those begin on Dec. 18, 2015, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is heading up the first Anthology movie, Star Wars: Rogue One, which is set for a Dec 16, 2016 release. Star Wars: Episode VIII will follow on May 26, 2017, as will Episode IX in 2019.
Trank's Fantastic Four is coming to theaters Aug. 7, 2015. To pass the time, why not watch the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer below?