Josh Trank leaves Star Wars: Episode VIII

Director Josh Trank will no longer helm 'Star Wars: Episode VIII'.

The 'Chronicle' filmmaker has dropped out of the second film in the sci-fi saga's new trilogy - the follow up to this year's 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - to follow a ''different path''.

In a statement posted on official website, the 30-year-old director said: ''After a year of having the incredible honour of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I'm making a personal decision to move forward on a different path.

''I've put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the 'Star Wars' universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn't be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow 'Star Wars' fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.''

Lucasfilm VP of Development Kiri Hart added: ''It was a privilege to collaborate with Josh. We are grateful for the energy and love of 'Star Wars' that he brought to the process, and we wish him all the best.''

While Trank has stated he has left the movie to pursue other projects, The Hollywood Reporter has claimed he was actually fired by Lucasfilm executives who were nervous about entrusting the franchise to him following reports of ''unusual conduct'' on the set of the upcoming 'Fantastic Four' film.

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - directed by J. J. Abrams and starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, John Boyega and Andy Serkis - is scheduled to be released on December 18, 2015.