Of the two Star Wars spinoffs in development, dubbed "Anthology" films, one may be attempting to overcome some development hurdles after parting ways with Josh Trank, but the other is moving full steam ahead.
Titled Star Wars: Rogue One, the first non-episodic live-action Star Wars film directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) debuts in theaters worldwide a year after Episode VII - The Force Awakens brings back the saga this December. Rogue One already has its lead in Felicity Jones, and at Star Wars Celebration last month, its first teaser trailer debuted alongside details of its place in the saga.
As Disney and Lucasfilm's first Star Wars Anthology, Rogue One will take fans back to the days between the evens of Episode III and IV where rebels seek out the plans to the Empire's first Death Star and execute a successful but costly heist. It's described as a war thriller of sorts that features no Jedi-type characters.
Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline) was reported to be in talks for another lead role in Star Wars: Rogue One, and while coyly denying such rumors, it's now been confirmed. Variety has the scoop that Mendelsohn has signed to play the main villain of the film with writer/producer/director/actor Diego Luna (Contraband, Elysium) signing on as another lead, playing a rebel alongside Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler) - the latter of which seems confirmed now as well.
There's no word yet on whether or not Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) has signed but it's possible he was in the running for the same lead role Luna just nabbed.
Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones, who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything. The idea for the story of Rogue One came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic. He will executive produce along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) are on board to produce and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce. The film starts shooting this summer in London and is due for release on December 16, 2016.
For an idea on the tone and style of Edwards' take on Star Wars, he's bringing with him Godzilla composer Alexandre Desplat to score the film and it'll be shot by Zero Dark Thirty cinematographer Greig Fraser. Stay tuned for more casting news in the near future as Star Wars: Rogue One gears up for a production start this summer in London.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases in theaters December 18, 2015. Star Wars: Rogue One releases in theaters December 16, 2016.