UPDATE: APRIL FOOLS!
Rogue One represented something of a risk for Lucasfilm. Following the record-shattering success of The Force Awakens, Gareth Edwards' spinoff/prequel was the first live-action film to take place outside the Skywalker family saga, testing the waters as a standalone anthology movie. In the months leading up to its release, Rogue One generated several headlines due to its extensive reshoots, which painted an unfavorable picture for many fans. Fortunately, concerns were overblown in the end, and the film received widespread praise and grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
With audiences meeting and growing attached to new characters like Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and K-2SO, that kind of success would warrant the development of a followup or two. However, Rogue One had a rather unconventional conclusion for a Hollywood tentpole, as all of the main heroes perished during the emotional Battle of Scarif - or at least, that's how it appeared on-screen. Apparently, a couple of the new faces survived the Rebels' attack, and they're going to come back for another spinoff film.
In a late-Friday press announcement, Disney announced their intention to move forward with (a currently untitled) "Rogue One sequel" (we've got our fingers crossed for "Rogue Two") with a premiere date to be determined later (they have a lot on their plate as it is).
Check out the full text, below:
The Rebellion continues! StarWars.com is pleased to announce that development has begun on a Rogue One sequel. The Star Wars story team isn't ready to share exactly what they have in store or when the Rogue One sequel will arrive in theaters but fans attending Star Wars Celebration 2017 might keep their eyes peeled for an early tease!
But... we can confirm that Felicity Jones and Diego Luna will reprise their roles as Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor!
The untitled Rogue One sequel joins an exciting slate of new adventures in the Galaxy Far, Far Away coming to fans in the coming years. We can't wait to share more info with you.
StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.
Perhaps most surprisingly, star Felicity Jones is coming back on board to reprise Jyn Erso. The Oscar nominee reportedly had a sequel option in her original contract with Disney, and that proved to be too good of an opportunity for the studio to pass up. Diego Luna is also signed on to play Cassian once more. Erso and Andor seemingly died on the beach in an explosion, but as was once the fate of Orson Krennic, actually survived the Death Star's blast. How, exactly, the pair will have been saved from the blast will be a highly-scrutinized detail - but, with the right explanation (and a cool opening sequence to go along with it), Disney could justify the return of Erso and Andor. Of course, the announcement doesn't specify how big a role the two will play, so it's also possible that they'll reprise their roles - but only appear in flashbacks - and new heroes will take the center spotlight.
Plot details are obviously being kept under lock and key, but Star Wars fans don't have to think too hard to find a potential storyline. The Empire constructed a second Death Star that was used in Return of the Jedi. In that film, Mon Mothma made mention of the many Bothans who died to bring the Rebellion critical information - that eventually led to their victory in the Battle of Endor. Perhaps Jyn and Cassian team up with a group of Bothan spies to infiltrate the Imperials once more at the behest of Alliance leaders. That said, the Death Star and similar weapons (Starkiller base) have been used in many Star Wars films, so it's possible Lucasfilm decides to go in a different direction entirely and move away from legacy story elements.
This news is sure to be controversial amongst fans, since the ending of Rogue One was seen as a poignant moment in Star Wars lore and a fitting conclusion to the individual arcs of its main characters. However popular Jyn and Cassian are, bringing them back for another go-around threatens to sap some of the impact out of their original sacrifice, and there will be a lot of pressure on the filmmakers to make their return worthwhile. Lucasfilm has done an excellent job so far attracting top tier writing and directing talent to their new Star Wars movies, so hopefully the creative team has some great ideas in mind to quell any skepticism early on.
Now, attention turns to Star Wars Celebration 2017. The tease in the press release can't be lead to nothing. What sneak peak will fans get?
We'll keep you updated on the Rogue One sequel as more information becomes available.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018