Godzilla Director to Helm First Star Wars Spinoff For 2016 Release

Star Wars: Episode 7 planned for late 2015 release date?

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 2 in Development

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
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 Featuring X-WIng Squad or Luke Skywalker

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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