During this morning’s Disney shareholders meeting, Bob Iger (Disney chairman and CEO) dropped a few nuggets of news about the Star Wars franchise. Big news.
The first standalone film, which has heretofore been the subject of MUCH speculation, is officially titled Rogue One. There wasn’t much more substantive information about this, other than they’ve already cast Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything). The film will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and written by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, Cinderella).
I have to admit, this creative team does raise a few eyebrows. This will only be Edwards’s third film, and Chris Weitz came on late in the game to replace Gary Whitta as writer. In addition to the two films mentioned above, Weitz’s previous screenplay credits include the silver-screen gems Antz, The Golden Compass, and Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps.
I’m going to reserve judgment about this one. It’s coming to theaters on December 16, 2016.
In terms of content, I’m not sure the Rogue One title completely puts to rest the rampant rumors that the first spinoff would focus on Boba Fett, but it’s sure looking to be more Rebel-centric.
During this morning’s meeting, Iger also made it official that Episode VIII (set for release on May 26, 2017) will be written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper). This, I think, we can be happy about. Johnson has established himself as a visionary director, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of his films. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s kept on for Episode IX.
So, here’s the official slate, so far:
- December 18, 2015: Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens
- December 16, 2016: Star Wars: Rogue One
- May 26, 2017: Star Wars, Episode VIII
It’s weird to say, but it’s nice to see Star Wars back in May. All six previous films premiered in May, and it always felt odd to see Episode VII in December.
Interestingly, this also sets up Episode VIII to release almost 40 years to the day from the theatrical debut of Star Wars. Star Wars (pre-title change to A New Hope) premiered on May 25, 1977.