The first of at least three planned Star Wars stand-alone films has a release date, a director and a writer within a week of production on Star Wars: Episode VII commencing with J.J. Abrams as the helm.
Hot off the monster hit Godzilla, Lucasfilm and Disney have nabbed director Gareth Edwards to bring the first Star Wars stand-alone film to life. Godzilla was the first studio film for Edwards after his 2010 film Monsters. He’s a self-professed huge Star Wars fan as his official statement on the hiring indicates.
“Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life — join the Rebel Alliance!, said Edwards via the official announcement at StarWars.com. “I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm.”
“Gareth’s filmmaking talent makes him one of his generation’s most creative and visionary directors,” added Legendary Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull in a statement via The Wrap. “The plan has always been for Gareth to direct a different film before we started on another Godzilla, but who knew it would a Star Wars installment? We have a great plan in store for Godzilla fans and I am looking forward to seeing Gareth’s imprint on the Star Wars universe.”
Joining Edwards on the first Star Wars stand-alone film is Gary Whitta, best known in Hollywood for his work on The Book of Eli screenplay. Whitta’s roots are in the video game industry where he worked on the Telltale Games series The Walking Dead, which won Game of the Year for its first installment.
“From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer,” added Whitta to the official announcement. “It is deeply special to me, so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”
Lucasfilm has dated the first Star Wars stand-alone film for December 16, 2016. No information was made available about what the focus of the film will be, though long-running rumors point toward the origins of Han Solo, the bounty hunter work of Boba Fett, or the adventures of Yoda. Anything outside those three characters would be considered a surprise.
Fun fact: the first Star Wars stand-alone film will arrive in theaters just under a month after the first Harry Potter spin-off film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.