Star Wars Celebration 2015 is underway in Anaheim, California, and thus far the event has brought us a brand new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer; an extended preview of season two for the Disney XD animated TV series Star Wars Rebels; the first look at the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront video game; and, on top of that, additional details about the next era of the Star Wars franchise, now that Lucasfilm has set up shop at the Mouse House a.k.a. the Walt Disney Company.
Today the focus shifted to Star Wars: Rogue One, which is planned as the first of multiple Star Wars standalone live-action film – with Rogue One due to arrive in 2016. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was at the panel for Rogue One, along with director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla (2014)). However, Josh Trank – who is set to helm the currently-untitled second Star Wars “Anthology” (more on that later) after Rogue One – was due to attend, but had to call out sick. That was the reason given for his absence, anyway. Moving on…
Here are the new official details for Rogue One, as revealed during the film’s Star Wars Celebration panel:
- Rogue One (as Tweeted by the official Star Wars account) has received the following synopsis: “A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans” – confirming the longtime rumor about the movie’s narrative.
- Oscar-nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) is playing a Rebel soldier in the film.
- Rogue One takes place between Episode III and IV – BUT, closer to the events of Episode IV: A New Hope (no surprise).
- ILM’s John Knoll was the one who pitched the film. Edwards was hired to direct while he was still working on Godzilla.
- There won’t be any Jedi in Rogue One, as Edwards has said “It comes down to a group of individuals that don’t have magic powers, that have to bring hope to the galaxy.”
- Edwards emphasized that the script – penned by Gary Whitta (After Earth) and Chris Weitz (Cinderella (2015)) – sets the stage for a Star Wars movie that plays out very much like a war thriller. That’s why people such as Zero Dark Thirty cinematographer Greig Fraser will be working out the movie’s visual style.
- Production begins on Star Wars: Rogue One this summer.
Additionally, these standalone films will be referred to as “Anthology” movies; thus, the full title is Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One (see below). A teaser for the film was shown during the panel, along with concept art (again, see below) that evokes the idea of a Halo-style sci-fi/military thriller set in the Star Wars universe.
This is what the Rogue One logo looks like, giving you an idea of how the stand alone movies will be presented pic.twitter.com/JW5wl5qixZ— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) April 19, 2015
Rogue One concept art! pic.twitter.com/CGuLjz1IOC— Bryan Bishop (@bcbishop) April 19, 2015
Last, but not least, here is a description of the Rogue One teaser shown at the Star Wars Celebration panel (hat tip /Film):
A card with “December 2016″ fades in and out, with a sound that is somewhere between a slow Inception horn and a lightsaber. Then a familiar voice: Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, saying “For more than a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.”
As he speaks, the teaser fades in on a tracking shot, high up through a forested canyon. We hear a TIE Fighter pass overhead, and see the ship move forward into frame as the camera continues to push forward. We see, dominating the sky, the outline of what could be a moon. But that’s no moon, it’s a… well, you know what it is. The Death Star, under construction. Music swells and the screen goes black. The Rogue One logo comes up, and we hear radio voices, like troops communicating during combat. The chatter gets more frantic and loud as light strobes on the logo, which finally breaks up as the sound cuts out.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015. Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One hits theaters on December 16th, 2016.