First Star Wars Spinoff Gets The Golden Compass Screenwriter

Han Solo Luke Skywalker Leia Organa and Chewbacca in Star Wars

The first Star Wars movie to be released in over ten years premieres in theaters this December. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens from director J.J. Abrams has fans and film critics alike on pins and needles, waiting to see the first entry in what will start a new trilogy. Yet in between the next three movies, Lucasfilm is also planning three separate spinoffs set in the same universe.

The first spinoff will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), while Josh Trank (Chronicle) has already been tapped to helm the second. Rumors abound about what these movies will entail, including the latest which says Han Solo and Boba Fett could appear in the first spinoff film. But regardless of who the main characters may end up being, casting is already underway for Edwards' film, and a new writer has just been hired to take another crack at the script.

According to THR, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Chris Weitz (About a Boy) will take over for Gary Whitta, who departed Edwards' spinoff a few weeks ago after turning in a first draft of the script. Weitz is expected to continue where Whitta left off, penning another (and most likely final) draft. Reports originally presumed X-Men screenwriter Simon Kinberg would fill the writing position, but it seems these rumors won't come to pass.

The screenwriter, director, and recent author, who also wrote and directed The Golden Compass (see below), already has his foot in the door with Disney. Weitz also wrote this year's Cinderella, a live-action adaptation of the Disney classic starring Lily James.

Chris Weitz - Golden Compass

It's not uncommon for there to be multiple drafts of a script before filming begins. Michael Arndt worked on a treatment for Episode VII for over a year, before Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over the script. Yet because casting has already started on Edwards' spinoff in preparation for a December 2016 release date, we wonder just how much can be changed on this one by the time production begins.

Filming is rumored to begin very soon in Mexico, so its more than likely Weitz will be simply cleaning up Whitta's script rather than making any significant changes to the story. Then again, why bring in an Oscar-nominated screenwriter like Weitz if you don't intend for him to use his talents to noticeably improve a script?

What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Are you happy that Weitz has been brought in to refine Whitta's script for the first spinoff? Let us know in the comments.

The first Star Wars spinoff will be in theaters December 16, 2016.

Source: THR

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