Last weekend, news broke that Gary Whitta was no longer writing the script for the first Untitled 2016 Star Wars Standalone Film. News of this certainly mirrored Michael Arndt’s departure from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While we don’t have the details as to why the split happened, Whitta’s tweet didn’t indicate any ill feelings towards Disney/Lucasfilm. The writer is moving on with a project titled Starlight over at Fox.
But director Gareth Edwards won’t be working on the script alone for very long if the new rumors are true. Sources say Star Wars Rebels executive producer Simon Kinberg is being tapped to be Whitta’s replacement. Hit the jump for more.
/Film was the first to report on the rumor, but both Disney and Lucasfilm have yet to confirm if it is true (the site reached out to Lucasfilm, who wouldn’t comment on the issue, and to Kinberg’s reps, who had not responded at press time). But if true, then it makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons. Kinberg was one of the first to act as a consultant on the development of The Force Awakens after Arndt’s departure. He is also an executive producer on the hit show Star Wars Rebels and is also attached to another a second Star Wars Spinoff film, presumably the untitled 2018 film that Josh Trank is directing.
The rumor that Edwards’ film centers on a group of bounty hunters stealing the plans to the first Death Star remains unconfirmed, as is the speculation that it will center on Han Solo. It’s unclear how much of Whitta’s draft will be changed now, but with Kinberg already juggling multiple Star Wars-related projects, he is very familiar with that world, the characters, story, and tone. So the in-house hire makes perfect sense.
Just to be clear, this is a rumor, but with the film scheduled for a December 2016 release, you can bet that Disney and Lucasfilm want to get this first standalone film into production as soon as possible.