First Star Wars Spin Off Is Rogue One Starring Felicity Jones

Tom Butler - do not use
·Senior UK Writer
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The first details on Gareth Edwards’ ‘Star Wars’ spin-off have been revealed on a Disney shareholder call.

The film will be called ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ and will star ‘The Theory of Everything’ actress Felicity Jones. It’s coming to cinemas on 16 December 2016 and will shoot in London this summer.

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An official press release from Disney reveals the standalone film will explore “the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga” and is based on an idea from visual effects supervisor John Knoll. He worked on the ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy and won an Academy Award for his work on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’.

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Above: The Oscar-nominated Felicity Jones

The press release reveals nothing of the plot, but movie blog Slash Film says ‘Rogue One’ will apparently: “follow a group of bounty hunters who were hired to pull off a heist to steal the plans for the death star — think Seven Samurai or Suicide Squad meets Ocean’s Eleven in the world of Star Wars.”

Gareth Edwards, best known for ‘Monsters’ and last year’s ‘Godzilla’, will direct from a script written by ‘Cinderella’ screenwriter Chris Weitz. There’s no mention of the spin-off’s original screenwriter Gary Whitta.

Here’s the full press release: This morning at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, across the street from Lucasfilm, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger hosted a shareholder meeting where he announced news regarding the first Star Wars stand-alone movie as well as Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Above: Director Gareth Edwards

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.

In addition, Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is set for release on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. Johnson is widely considered one of cinema’s most gifted young filmmakers, having directed the modern sci-fi classic, Looper, as well as Brick and The Brothers Bloom. He was also behind the camera for three episodes of the critically-acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, including “Ozymandias,” which series creator Vince Gilligan named as the best installment of the show. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, producer of Looper, Don Jon, Brick, and The Brothers Bloom, are on board to produce.

Image credits: Disney