by Justin Cook
Disney and Lucasfilm have made many announcements regarding upcoming Star Wars films at their shareholders meeting in San Francisco today.
Firstly, Looper and Brick director Rian Johnson has officially been confirmed as the writer and director of Star Wars: Episode VIII. The still untitled film will be released on May 26, 2017, 40 years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope, which was released in 1977.
Gareth Edwards, director of last year’s Godzilla, will be directing a Star Wars spinoff film set for release on December 16, 2016, a little under a year after the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The name of the film will be Rogue One, and Chris Weitz, who has also written this week’s Cinderella, will pen the script. In the past, Weitz has also written About a Boy, The Golden Compass and Antz.
Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones, best known for her role as Jane Hawking in last year’s The Theory of Everything, will star in the film.
Rogue One will be the first film in a series of stand-alone films that explore the Star Wars universe, and the characters and events inside of it.
Kathleen Kennedy, John Knoll, Tony To and John Schwartz will produce the project. Also, the film is based off of an idea by Knoll, who is an Academy Award winning visual effects supervisor.
Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of Disney, announced the news at the conference, which was held at the Palace of Fine Arts.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to star Star Wars regulars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker, as well as newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie.
The film will be released on December 18, 2015.