The Star Wars universe is going to continue to grow at the end of this year; but unlike the previous seven films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will not be following the larger story of the saga films. This is part of Disney and Lucasfilm's efforts to expand the universe by bringing in more stories that are smaller in scope, even if the impact could be large. For this first such standalone film, that means telling the story of the Rebels, led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), stealing the plans to the Death Star.
This is only the beginning of Disney and Lucasfilm's Star Wars anthology film plans, with a young Han Solo movie starring Alden Ehrenreich also in the works - plus, a mystery third film also in the early stages of development. While no official light has been shed on who or what the third movie will focus on, it appears that the studio at least has a writer attached to the project.
In an interview with THR, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the prospects of the Star Wars universe in wake of their new schedule. Iger refers to Rogue One as "an experiment, of sorts" with it being the first non-saga film to ever be made within the universe. The mysterious third anthology film is not slated to hit theaters until 2020, but Iger told THR that a writer is currently onboard the project working on the script.
This third film was initially rumored to be a young Boba Fett film with Josh Trank attached as the director. Clearly, that is not happening anymore, which leaves the slot open for other ideas. There has been plenty of buzz of Ewan McGregor possibly returning for a Obi-Wan Kenobi trilogy set between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, but that is purely speculation at this point.
As for who could be writing the next anthology film, Simon Kinberg could be that writer. Kinberg was originally slated to write the Boba Fett film, so he could still be working on the project, even after Trank's departure. Whether or not a Boba Fett movie is still being planned is unclear at this point - as Disney could be reworking the script for new directors and/or that project may have been scrapped altogether by now. Then again, it could not be Kinberg at all.with Iger preferring not to say who the writer is.
The release date for this film means fans eagerly awaiting word on a director or even the general direction of the story could be waiting for awhile longer. Disney and Lucasfilm could easily wait over a year before production starts on the project, and could even be waiting to see the reception of Rogue One before moving ahead with other non-big name character spin-offs.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.