Bob Iger and StarWars.Com announced today the first solid details of the first "Star Wars" standalone film.
It will star Felicity Jones and carry the title "Rogue One." Rogue Squadron is the elite group of pilots that took down both Death Stars and defended the Rebel retreat on Hoth. In the now Legendary expanded universe, Rogue Squadron (led by Wedge Antilles) pulled off some of the most daring missions the Rebellion had ever seen, and were written by Michael Stakcpole and Aaron Allston.
There's no indication if this film is set prior to the classic trilogy, during it, or after.
Gareth Edwards is still directing, Chris Weitz has taken over duties on the script.
Here's the official release:
Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones, who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything. The idea for the story of Rogue One came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic. He will executive produce along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) are on board to produce and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce. The film starts shooting this summer in London and is due for release on December 16, 2016.
It's interesting to note that John Knoll is the originator of the story. You'll remember him as the special FX master who brought the worlds of "Star Wars" to life. My guess is that this film centers around a pilot, and I wonder if it's inspired at all by John Knoll's turn as a pilot in "The Phantom Menace:"
Additionally, Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson would be directing "Episode VIII," which is good news for fans of cinema everywhere. Better yet, the release date is moving to May 26, 2017, forty years and a day after the release of the original "Star Wars" film.
"Star Wars: Rogue One" comes out December 2016.