From Variety –
Disney and Lucasfilm have announced details of the upcoming “Stars Wars” films at its annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.
Rian Johnson has also been confirmed to write and direct “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” which will hit theaters May 26, 2017.
Gareth Edwards’ upcoming standalone film, starring Felicity Jones, will be called “Rogue One.” The movie starts filming in London this summer and opens Dec. 16, 2016.
“Rogue One,” based on an idea by Oscar-winning vfx supervisor John Knoll, was written by “Cinderella” scribe Chris Weitz.
Kathleen Kennedy will produce the standalone film alongside Knoll, Tony To and John Schwartz.
Plot details of “Rogue One” are unknown.
Edwards’ spinoff movie is one of two known “Star Wars” spinoffs in the works at Lucasfilm and Disney. Director Josh Trank (“Chronicle”) is developing another top secret feature.
It’s unclear how both spinoff features will play into the upcoming seventh chapter “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” if at all. Speculation has Edwards’ and Trank’s movies focusing on the early days of original characters Princess Leia and Han Solo.
The J.J. Abrams-directed “Force Awakens,” which opens Dec. 18, features original cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as well as newcomers like John Boyega and Adam Driver. It will take place 30 years after 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”
Disney is banking heavily on the “Star Wars” franchise after acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion. The studio is also planning “Star Wars”-themed attractions at Disney parks across the globe.