Fans of the Star Wars universe, i.e. everyone on the planet, have been absolutely rabid for any information relating to the new universe that Disney is building around the one of the greatest space dramas ever created. We all know that a new trilogy is happening, with J.J. Abrams at the director wheel for the first movie, and that there are several spinoff movies planned, but other than that, the Mouse House has pretty much kept things quiet on the Star Wars front. Well, Star Wars fans, get ready to get excited because today, we finally have some news on the revitalized franchise, including the title of the first new Wars spinoff film. That title, by the way, is Rogue One.
Today, Disney CEO Bob Iger held a shareholders meeting, during which he dropped a couple of pretty exciting tidbits of things to come.
Let’s start with that spinoff! We have known for a while that Godzilla and Monster director Gareth Edwards would be at the helm of the spinoff but little else was known, other than rumblings that could be dismissed as rumors. One of those rumors suggested that the spinoff would center around a Rebel pilot or squad, and one of today’s announcements seems to lend itself to that speculation. As mentioned, the title of the first new Star Wars spinoff film will be Rogue One, which certainly seems to indicate that those earlier rumblings weren’t too far off. Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (About a Boy) will be tackling the script, which may or may not be a great thing. While Weitz does have an Academy Award nod for About a Boy, he was also the man behind Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps, The Golden Compass, and the new Cinderella, plus, he directed Twilight: New Moon. How he did with Cinderella is still to be seen but let’s hope it’s better than some of his others.
In addition to the title and writer of the new film, Iger also revealed the first actor to be cast in the film is The Theory of Everything’s Felicity Jones, also a previous Oscar contender. Rogue One begins shooting this summer in London for a December 16, 2016, release date.
But wait! There’s more! Alright, I admit this is only a little bit more but Iger finally put all of the rumors to rest and made it official by announcing Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars Episode VIII, which will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, with J.J. Abrams taking the executive producer duties this time out. Johnson is a very exciting choice, having written and directed the fantastic films Looper, Brick and The Brothers Bloom. Hell, as a writer, Johnson even has some of the best Breaking Bad episodes (Ozymandias, Fly, Fifty-One) under his belt! It was also confirmed that the release date for Episode VIII will be May 26, 2017, which is just after the 40th anniversary of the release of the original film.
Spinoff flicks have the potential to bring in some fantastic characters and stories from a universe that you are familiar with but, generally, don’t pan out quite as well as the creators hoped. If you want examples, take a look at X-Men Origins: Wolverine or Supergirl, for instance. Want some closer examples? The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor should take care of that need. Still, considering how well Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Clone Wars have translated to the small screen, fans should be hopeful for what the future holds. If you want to know more about what the future holds for Star Wars, don’t forget that Star Wars Celebration will be held in Anaheim, CA, April 16-19! While there are no promises that attendees will get new information regarding the new Wars films, it is likely that there will be more than a few reveals, especially considering that Abrams, Kennedy, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Billy Dee Williams (to name just a few guests) will all be on hand for the convention. If you can’t make it, no worries! NerdBastards will be there to bring you all the latest information!
Are you excited for Rogue One or were you hoping for a Han Solo story first? How do you feel about Rian Johnson’s chances on giving fans a spinoff to get excited about?