‘Godzilla’ Director to Helm First ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff for 2016 Release

Published 6 months ago by

star wars episode 7 release date2 Godzilla Director to Helm First Star Wars Spinoff for 2016 Release

As of late, Star Wars news has been coming at us in a steady stream. There was, of course, the official unveiling of the cast for Star Wars: Episode VII, but even that announcement was preceded by Lucasfilm finally clarifying what place the Expanded Universe has within this new chapter of the Star Wars saga.

Yet, besides the expected three new Episodes, what else is in store for the Star Wars franchise down the line is a mystery. Disney CEO Bob Iger has made it clear they intend to begin producing Star Wars spinoffs to release in between Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, but there’s been nothing but rumors about who or what those films could cover.

Now, with the news filming is already underway on Episode VII, details about Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s plans for the future of Star Wars are starting to trickle in. The first of which will undoubtedly please a lot fans: Gareth Edwards (Godzilla (2014)) has been signed to direct the first Star Wars stand-alone film from a screenplay by Gary Whitta, with a December 16th, 2016 release date target (i.e. almost exactly one year after Episode VII arrives).

Considering how Godzilla dominated the box office this past weekend, raking in $93.1 million domestically, it’s no surprise at all Edwards has landed himself a gig helming a movie for what is arguably the most popular film franchise in the world. What perhaps may be a little surprising is this stand-alone Star Wars film will only be Edwards’ third theatrical release. (On that note: Legendary CEO Thomas Tull has already confirmed that Edwards is attached to two more Godzilla movies, so the filmmaker is apparently not done with the King of Monster’s franchise yet.)

Godzilla film still 014 Godzilla Director to Helm First Star Wars Spinoff for 2016 Release

However, when you consider how often J.J. Abrams has said he wants Star Wars to ‘get back to basics’ so to speak, relying less on green screen and computer generated effects, then a choice like Edwards – whose feature film debut, Monsters was made for a paltry $500,000 – makes all the more sense.

As for Whitta, his resume includes films Book of Eli and After Earth, but if those don’t having you brimming with confidence in Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s choice, then perhaps his writing credits on the smash hit video game series, Telltale’s The Walking Dead will.

Both Edwards and Whitta are enthusiastic about their newest endeavor, and in a statement released by Lucasfilm, Edwards said:

“Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited & honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm.”

Which Whitta reiterates:

“From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me,so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth,is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”

Gareth Edwards and Aaron Taylor Johnson on the Godzilla set Godzilla Director to Helm First Star Wars Spinoff for 2016 Release

Gareth Edwards directing Aaron Taylor-Johnson in ‘Godzilla’

Clearly, like many filmmakers and screenwriters working today, Edwards and Whitta were at one point or another inspired by George Lucas. And knowing that, the question now is what would two giant Star Wars nerds want to develop when given the opportunity to make their own movie within a galaxy far, far away?

There are, of course, those rumors of stand-alone films for characters like Boba Fett, Han Solo, or Yoda. And if this potential film line-up leaked at a recent Habro event has any truth to it, a Boba Fett movie is what’s on the docket after Episode VII. With that character’s huge popularity but limited screen time, Fett could be just the character two longtime Star Wars fans would like to flesh out in his own picture. (That’s assuming the rumors about Lawrence Kasdan writing the Boba Fett movie aren’t true, anyway.)

Within that same leaked line-up there is also mention of a Red Five project, which we’ve theorized could be a film or television series centered on either unseen adventures of X-Wing pilot, Luke Skywalker, or perhaps even the adventures of an entire Rebel squadron. Could Edwards’ mentioning of always wanting to join the Rebel Alliance be a hint that’s the sort of feature he and Whitta will be working on?

star wars spinoff x wing squad Godzilla Director to Helm First Star Wars Spinoff for 2016 Release

Well, that may be a bit of a stretch, but Edwards’ grounded filmmaking style and Whitta’s knack for putting characters in really tough, dire situations would work well for a film starring Boba set in the dankest, seediest parts of the galaxy – or, if not that, then maybe a space war epic with the pilots on the front lines of the Rebellion. Though, we suggest they take a look through our tips on how to do Star Wars spinoff movies right, first.

What do you think of Gareth Edwards and Gary Whitta as Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s choices for the first stand-alone Star Wars film? What would you like to see them develop? A Boba Fett film, something focusing on rebel pilots, or something else altogether? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments below!

__________________________________________________

Star Wars: Episode VII releases in theaters December 18th, 2015. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more information about Gareth Edwards’ and Gary Whitta’s stand-alone Star Wars film, which is currently scheduled to hit theaters on December 16th, 2016.

Source: Disney/Lucasfilm

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  1. Well, I guess that tells us everything we need to know right there … and what to expect from these Star Wars spin offs. Godzilla was fun and all, but the characters were made out of cardboard.

    • Dude it’s Godzilla. Not Citizen Kane. cardboard characters are something just about everyone expects to see in Kaiju films.

      • Maybe that’s what YOU expect to see. For me it’s not mutually exclusive.

    • Blame the script for the bland characters. And this time around the person penning the script has done excellent characters so far in Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

      • I absolutely DO blame the script. Borenstein is a noob with one previous screenwriting credit. Meanwhile, Dave Callaham’s impressive credits include Doom and The Expendables.

        But Edwards should have recognized this and reworked the screenplay. Unlike television, in motion pictures the director has absolute power to rewrite the script if he so chooses.

        He should have so chosen.

    • Thats bad news here actually ,this means Godzilla Sequel is now in a Galaxy far far away :(

  2. This sounds good, in theory. I have no actual perspective on Whitta, but I was quite satisfied with Godzilla, so Edwards has my approval.

    Regarding the human characters in Godzilla, they may not be deeply involving, but there is nothing much wrong with them in my estimation. They just simply are point of view subtext for what that film is really about, which is monsters, scope and scale.

    • Ironic thing is, people claim the human characters were “made of cardboard” in Godzilla but I thought they had natural human emotion and were full of character and reason to be there.

      It depends on the view of the person watching it but I just naturally assume those being negative about Godzilla (“too few monster scenes”, “zero characterisation”) either didn’t see the film and just pick up naturally on negativity to form their opinion based on something they haven’t seen or would be happiest with non-stop dumb-a-thons provided by Transformers, Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen.

      As far as this news, Gareth’s a great director after proving himself with two movies and knocking it out the park both times so this is an interesting development.

      • Ironic thing is, people claim the human characters were “made of cardboard” in Godzilla but I thought they had natural human emotion and were full of character and reason to be there.

        That’s exactly right. The characters in Godzilla felt like real people, reacting to the situation realistically and believeably. Sure, the characters could have been made more entertaining by having them crack jokes left and right in the most inappropriate situations (Roland Emmerich, anyone?), but that would have really turned them into cardboards and also would have taken away from the attempt to sell the MUTOs and Godzilla as a realistic, catastrophic occurence. Godzilla is a serious, somber disaster movie in the same vein as the 70s movies Earthquake or The Towering Inferno. The disaster just happens to be giant monsters this time.

  3. Maybe he can convince J.J. Abrams to make Cloverfield 2 or to make Godzilla vs The Cloverfield Monster…… Dawn of Justice.

  4. Everyone is so quick with the negativity. Whether it’s Star Wars, Star Trek, or what ever movie of the moment it might be. One name is mentioned or attached to a project and automatically someone knows exactly how the movie is going to be.

    Amazes me. What happened to judging the movie until after seeing it in the theaters? I guess its a result of today’s society of instant access to everything.

    • First time on the internet, eh? ;-)

      • @ freedomispopular…….

        No actually, posted on here several times actually.

  5. Well! Guess I need to watch Godzilla to stay in with the conversation now.

  6. This is concerning to say the least.

    Godzilla was more of a corporate exercise in franchise power than a fully realized movie.

    I don’t say that as a highbrow insult, it literally lacked some of the foundations of a movie, like narrative, character investment, personal and moral stakes, hell, even well-executed action.

    I have a feeling that the Star Wars spin-off movies will be as low risk, low stake, high-return popcorn movies as anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    • It also lacked Godzilla.

      • Very true.

        • The original 1954 Godzilla also lacked Godzilla for the most part. Only 17 minutes of screen time.

          • Awwwwww, snap! Watch your step this guy just dropped some knowledge. Bringing facts into the conversation. Ooooohh.

          • the first Transformers films showed way to little Transformers, yet people weren’t complaining then. I really don’t understand what they’re complaining about, The first thing you see in the film is Godzilla, and then after that it’s another 25 minutes before you see him again, but you see the m.u.t.os wreaking havoc before that. After that the film shifts between the m.u.t.os stomping all over the place and military trying to kill it with a nuke. People complaining it was too long of a setup, but understand that its been over 10 yrs since America gave us their version of Godzilla, it sucked, so naturally the writers and film makers are gonna craddle the heck out of Godzilla before finally showing him in his full glory. It’s paying homage to the first Godzilla film and before the film even came out, everyone involved with the film compared it to Jaws, which also showed the title character during the last act. So really people are complaining about something that they knew before hand was going to happen.

    • Yep. I’m so sick of apologists who think that characters with depth and dimension — and that have arcs — are unnecessary in an action/monster/horror film. That’s patent nonsense.

      Edwards kept comparing Godzilla to Jaws. Uh, yeah…no. Not even close. Brody, Quint, and Hooper are textbook examples of how richly drawn such characters can be, even WITHIN a monster movie.

      This Brody in Godzilla was an empty vessel with no personality and even less of an arc to go through.

      • There is a difference between not seeing a lot of a character (which does apply to many of them in Godzilla) and a character being uninteresting.

        I felt that most of the characters in Godzilla were engaging, and Bryan Cranston surely was not cardboard. Most of them just did not get a lot of development. This film was about setting up a mood/atmosphere/environment, which oddly enough is also why I did not mind the late appearance of the title character.

        Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character may have been a relatively stoic soldier, but is that something to hold against him?

        • To clarify: I am often very critical of character-writing/portraying — and I was disappointed with Pacific Rim in that regard — but in this case, I find the complaints mostly unreasonable.

  7. Isnt there an avatard sequel scheduled for dec 16

  8. So I guess we can expect a Star Wars movie with barely any Star Wars in it?

    • Well gee going by what youre saying, we can all expect to see a blank screen for 2 hrs. -__-

      For real these jokes are getting old. THe original “Godzilla” only showed Godzilla at the end of the film, we didn’t get to see the shark in “Jaws” until the last act of the film, we didn’t get a good look at the Alien in “Alien” until the last act of the film. The aliens in “Close encounter” were barely in it and even the dinosours in Jurrasic Park had less screen time than the human actors and they were all just dino fodder.

      • “…we didn’t get to see the shark in ‘Jaws’ until the last act of the film…”

        The difference being that in Jaws we had 3 terrific characters, 3 truly wonderful actors, and an intelligent, suspenseful, and well-crafted screenplay (one of the best of all time, actually).

    • It’s gonna be Planet Peace, where laser swords are never turned on and are instead used as clubs and hammers or else deliberately thrown away/at each other with a wink and a nod as they decry it as “old wizard bs”

  9. Awesome! This is very exciting. I took my niece and nephew to Godzilla and it was a really fun night out. Gareth will make a kickass star wars movie, hope it has Rancors in it.

    • Oh, I think you can count on plenty of rancor all right. In fact, I think it’s already started.

      • Holy trolly, settle down Mardock. This was Edward’s second film and you’re hating on it for not being Jaws. So if it’s not Jaws it’s garbage? Well you must be always disappointed.

        Godzilla was generally well received and there will be sequels. Edwards is getting other job offers but that’s no reason for you to get bent out of shape. You’re making it seem like he’s a hack.

        • “This was Edward’s second film…”

          Ya, and Jaws was Spielberg’s second film.

          So what’s Edwards’ excuse again? Please enlighten me. No, actually, let me enlighten you: Back in “the day”, there wasn’t this over-reliance on CGI effects, which has led to a wholesale under-reliance on real writing talent and quality storytelling and scripting.

  10. Well, THAT didn’t take long! LOL!!! :D

    He’s also directing Godzilla sequels(YAY), but the first one won’t go into production until after this Star Wars is done.

    I’m not thrilled about the screenwriter at all, but of course I’m going to see it. Curious as to what the first spin off movie will be about.

    B

    • Bri,

      There’s speculation saying that the first spinoff motive after Episode VII will be Boba Fett so there could be that! There’s also a rumor based on Edwards’ quote, hinting at a Rebel Alliance spinoff :O

      • hmm.. well, leaving us to pure speculation until more concrete news lands. I think Fett would be an obvious marketing choice, though it wouldn’t be my first pick. My first pick would be something about the foundation of the Jedi order or something like that. Anything set far away from the OT or the PT.

        B

    • My guess would be something monster related.

      • ‘Godzilla vs The Sith: Dawn of Justice’

  11. Pairing Edwards with Whitta — who gave us the truly godawful ‘After Earth’ — smacks of the sort of studio myopia and nepotism that led Spielberg and Lucas to sound the alarm bells last year, when they said that another half-dozen or so big blockbuster failures would lead to the end of Hollywood as we know it.

    • After Earth was far from being awful. It simply never had a chance, because of a highly biased and brainless mob mentality regarding M. Knight Shyamalan’s previous movies and the whole Smith nepotism thing. People decided that it would suck before they even saw a shred of footage, based on the names involved alone, and picked up their pitchforks to mindlessly storm to the castle. The fact you bring up nepotism on a topic that has nothing to do with it only proves my point.

      • “People decided that it would suck before they even saw a shred of footage…”

        I saw it. It still sucked.

  12. Well maybe disney should aquire the rights for jurassic park as well cuz if the last rumor turns out to be true then universal put there chips on the wrong person, and disney seems to be doing everything right… i meen seriously i will never watch a trevorrow film if there is even one spliced dino in that movie… but everything about the future of star wars sounds perfect… lucasfilm and marvel disney might as well just start printing their own money… lets just hope they dont get too confident in the brands they have and jyst start turning out trash and only do movies with stories that will flesh out the star wars universe rather than polute it

  13. Well maybe disney should aquire the rights for jurassic park as well cuz if the last rumor turns out to be true then universal put there chips on the wrong person, and disney seems to be doing everything right… i meen seriously i will never watch a trevorrow film if there is even one spliced dino in that movie… but everything about the future of star wars sounds perfect… lucasfilm and marvel disney might as well just start printing their own money… lets just hope they dont get too confident in the brands they have and jyst start turning out trash and only do movies with stories that will flesh out the star wars universe rather than polute it.

  14. Definitely an inspired choice. I do have high hopes for the new film. A little worried about Whitta though. Perhaps writing a screenplay for Star Wars will bring out the best in him. Next, Alfonso Cuaron for Ep 8!

  15. Grievous starring Gary Oldman!

  16. I just ignore the haters for Godzilla,just like I ignore the haters for Star Wars,they are never gonna be happy with anything,or have any joy in their lives.I did truly enjoy Godzilla (2014),it gave me that giddy old-school sense of fun and anticipation,that I got from the 70s era Godzilla movies,that I grew up on when Godzilla fought,against other monsters to protect the earth.The only sci-fi that got my attention back then besides old Godzilla movies,was Star Wars,when it released back in 1977,so to have Gareth Edwards involved in two of my favorite franchises of all time,for me is a win-win situation. I also think it is kind of funny that not only is Disney and Warner Bros(the two biggest and best Hollywood movie studios,IMO),are not only in competition over box office and movie release dates,now it seems they are in competition over directors as well,this is surely one crazy industry,and I for one would not want it any other way. Keep the blockbusters coming.

  17. “How to train your Rancor” I mean he seems to be pretty good with big monsters

  18. after Edwards great “Monsters”, “Godzilla” was so disappointing. similar to Blomkamps “Elysium” that followed the awesome “District 9″.

    they both forgot what made their first movies awesome, shame they get so much praise for that…

  19. Godzilla was pretty disappointing IMO, so this isn’t too encouraging. We’ll just have to wait and see though. I was/still am really hoping they would consider Alan Taylor, I couldn’t help but think while watching Thor 2 that he would be an excellent choice to direct a Star Wars film.

  20. I’m fairly certain that the people who are negative about Godzilla probably find it nearly impossible to enjoy 90% of movies. No one goes to movies to enjoy them anymore, they show up looking for imperfections and when they inevitably find them they blow them out of proportion.

    • and I`m shocked that 99% of the audience seem to be happy with the “lowest common denominator” formula blockbuster have to follow these days.
      also it gets harder and harder to retell a movies story. if you think that is because modern blockbuster tend to have so incredible complex plots then you are among the big crowd that`s blinded by CGI…

  21. So will difrent directors take on mothra and rodan in between godzilla 1 and 2 cause i want a man of steel situition where the next movie in the universe comes 4 years after

  22. Godzilla Vs Boba Fett, where Boba gets his dad’s armor, then gets swallowed by Godzilla, giving it that green color and losing a few pieces. Of course, Godzilla is actually a native of Mandalore (Fett’s homeworld). They eventually send Godzilla into space to a galaxy far, far, far away to a Muto infested Earth. Now Edwards can kill two birds with one radioactive breath. Then we can start talking about the X-men Vs the Avengers.