Disney made several announcements today during their annual meeting of shareholders, where they revealed a slew of news about their upcoming Star Wars projects, including details about Star Wars: Episode VIII, as well as the reveal of the title of the first spinoff film, to be directed by Gareth Edwards.
Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff has been officially titled Star Wars: Rogue One, with Felicity Jones as the first actress officially cast in the film.
Jones earned an Academy Award nomination for her role as Jane Wilde Hawking in 2014’s The Theory of Everything, about the life of living science legend Stephen Hawking. No word yet on what character she’ll be playing in Rogue One, but early reports were that she has a lead role. Previous reports had the filmmakers eyeing a few actresses for a strong female lead, and the 31-year-old actress certainly fits the bill.
For Rogue One, the first of two confirmed Star Wars standalone films (with rumors of more to come), Edwards will be directing from a script written by Chris Weitz based on a draft penned by Gary Whitta.
Though the press release didn’t reveal plot details, here is what was posted to the official Star Wars website:
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.
Previous rumors state that the film would be a prequel where the rebel forces hire bounty hunters to steal the plans to the Death Star, and the newly revealed Rogue One, which suggests that the spinoff film is centered on the elite X-wing pilots of the rebel forces known as Rogue Squadron, would fall in line with this idea. Rebel Alliance member Wedge Antilles was the leader of Rogue Squadron, so could this mean we’ll see Denis Lawson, who played by character in the original Stars Wars film trilogy, back on the big screen in some way? Let’s hope!