The exit comes three days after Warner Bros. moved back the release of “Godzilla 2” by nine months to March 22, 2019. Warner Bros. and Legendary partnered on “Godzilla,” which grossed $529 million worldwide, then announced last August that they had scheduled “Godzilla 2” for June 8, 2018, with Edwards returning as director of the monster movie sequel.
A source close to Edwards indicated that his decision is not related to any difficulties with the material or “Godzilla” franchise, but rather a desire to do smaller projects after directing two tentpoles (“Godzilla” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) back to back.
Edwards’ “Rogue One,” set in the Star Wars universe before the events of “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope,” is in post-production and opens on Dec. 16.
Legendary disclosed last year that Godzilla would be joined by Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah in “Godzilla 2.” The first Godzilla appeared in 1954 and has generated 28 movies.
The next film in the Warner-Legendary partnership, “Kong: Skull Island,” hits theaters on March 10, starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, and “Straight Outta Compton” actors Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell.
“Kong: Skull Island” will be set in the mysterious home of the king of the apes and follow a team of explorers deep inside the island. Jordan Vogt-Roberts is directing from a script by Max Borenstein, John Gatins and Dan Gilroy. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni will produce with Mary Parent.
Warner Bros. also announced this week that it has dated its “Godzilla vs. Kong” movie for May 29, 2020, when the studio and Legendary officially unify the two franchises into a single film. No director has been named for that movie.
Edwards made his feature debut with 2010’s “Monsters, serving as the cinematographer, production designer and visual effects artist on the science-fiction movie about the aftermath of a NASA probe crash in Mexico.
The news about Edwards departing was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.