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First Star Wars Anthology Spinoff Loses Writer Gary Whitta

J.J. Abrams is bringing Star Wars back this December with Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but Disney is looking beyond a sequel trilogy when making the most of their $4 billion investment. In between the new episodes, the Mouse House will release standalone spinoff movies that will explore new stories to tell in the universe; including perhaps a heist film detailing the theft of the first Death Star plans.

Disney has wasted no time getting these spinoff projects through the pipeline, placing Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Josh Trank (Chronicle) to call the shots on the first two, respectively. When Edwards' involvement with the franchise was announced, it was also revealed that screenwriter Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth) would be penning the screenplay - but that is no longer the case.

THR is reporting that Whitta has left the first Star Wars spinoff, currently slated for a December 16, 2016 release. The reasoning for his departure is unclear, but Whitta did work with Edwards on writing the first draft of the script, and based on the director's quote it would appear that the breakup was amicable:

“Gary has been a wonderful, inspired contributor and I enjoyed working with him tremendously. I’m so grateful for all of his contributions.”

Plus, given what Whitta tweeted, one would guess that his contributions are still going to be a meaty portion of the film's story, regardless of what revisions are made between now and when principal photography starts:

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