Star Wars Episode VII hasn’t even revealed a full trailer yet, not to mention still nine months from release, yet we are already treated to even further news coming out of Disney. First it was the announcement of the director and release date of Star Episode VIII, Rian Johnson has been confirmed as the director to take the reigns off JJ Abrams for the next instalment of the sequel trilogy. 26th May 2017. Writer/director Johnson rose to fame with the 2005 modern film noir film Brick, starring a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He then went on to work with Gordon-Levitt again in 2012 with the blockbuster Looper, which again he both wrote and directed the film that also starred Bruce Willis.
After directing three episodes of Breaking Bad, Johnson was bought onboard to not just direct Episode VIII, but to also direct it. This will make the first person to do so since George Lucas himself both wrote and directed the prequel trilogy. Johnson has also been tasked with the tall order of finishing the sequel trilogy in writing the script for the final film, episode IX.
As for the spin-off Star Wars film, which has been confirmed British director Gareth Edwards has been announced as the director of the film, which will separate itself from the core trilogies and instead will focus on minor characters in the Star Wars universe. Gareth Edwards broke into the film scene in 2010 with his feature length debut low-budget horror sci-fi film, Monsters. Following the unexpected success of Monsters, Edwards was then approached to direct the 2014 iteration of Godzilla, starring Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. Joining Edwards on Star Wars Rogue One, is Felicity Jones, star of The Theory of Everything, to be playing the lead.
Possible theories of the film’s story, simply drawn from the title, include focusing on X-Wing pilots, possibly Wedge Antilles, the only pilot to survive both Death Star campaigns. Along with Luke Skywalker, Antilles established Rogue Squadron, the ‘Rogue One’ aspect of the title refers to the leader of said X-Wing squadron. Other possible storylines could be to centre around a group of bounty hunters tasked with stealing the plans of the first Death Star. Another angle could be that the film is to focus on a young Han Solo. With such a storied history of Harrison Ford’s iconic character, it seems perfectly feasible that an entire spin-off film can be based on Solo.
One aspect that hasn’t been settled on is a solid writer for Rogue One. With The Force Awakens having both JJ Abrams and Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan onboard and Episode VIII will have Rian Johnson to both write and firect, Rogue One is still in limbo in regards to the script. Gary Whitta (After Earth) was originally hired as writer but was soon released from the project earlier this year. Next up was Chris Weitz, an accomplished and writer of numerous films including The Golden Compass, American Pie and Twilight: New Moon, is the writer tasked with the spin-off.
Star Wars Rogue One is set for release for a December 16th 2016, with Episode VIII following a year later in 2017, as part of Disney’s announcement of releasing a new Star Wars film every year until 2019,