In Brief

Star Wars: Rogue One – Felicity Jones 'to return for sequel', Screen Rant says

Entertainment website reports the Rebellion is continuing - but fans should be a little sceptical

Rogue One: Star Wars spin-off will follow Death Star raid

20 April

The Star Wars Celebration fan convention in California has offered up a glut of new information about the forthcoming Star Wars films, including details of the first Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One.

According to the official Star Wars Twitter feed, Rogue One will follow "a band of resistance fighters [who] unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans".

Fans who gathered in Anaheim for the Star Wars Celebration convention were also shown a new trailer for Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens featuring the first glimpse of Harrison Ford reviving his most famous role as the fan-favourite intergalactic scoundrel, Han Solo.

According to Slash Film features, the teaser for the spin-off film features the "familiar voice" of Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi. "For more than a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic," he says. "Before the dark times. Before the Empire."

The camera then travels through a forested canyon towards the sky, which is dominated by the outline of the Death Star – a weapon developed by the evil Galactic Empire to destroy whole planets.

The teaser film was made with the cooperation of Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm's London-based special effects studio, The Verge reports, as the picture hasn't begun shooting yet.

The spin-off films will formally be called "anthology films" and will feature adventures within the Star Wars universe that form side notes to the main plot – the rise and fall of two generations of the Skywalker family.

Rogue One stars Felicity Jones as a Rebel soldier involved in the mission to capture the plans for the Death Star. It will be directed by Godzilla director, Gareth Edwards.

Rogue One begins shooting this summer and will be released in December, 2016.

Star Wars Episode 8 and spin-off Rogue One announced

13 March

Disney and Lucasfilm have announced that the next official Star Wars sequel – Episode VIII – will be a traditional summer blockbuster released on 26 May 2017, rather than a pre-Christmas release like the next movie in the series, The Force Awakens, which is due out on 18 December this year.

A rebellion built on hope.#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story is in theaters December 16. pic.twitter.com/DOhjvMGnyK

— Star Wars (@starwars) October 13, 2016

The announcement was made by Disney at its annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco amid a range of new information about forthcoming Star Wars projects. The company also revealed the name of the first new Star Wars spin-off film, which is to be called Rogue One.

Rian Johnson has been chosen to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. Johnson is best known for the highly acclaimed dark science-fiction film Looper, which he wrote and directed.

No details on the plot of the film have yet been announced, and no reason was offered for why JJ Abrams would not be involved in either of the new projects.

Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards, who oversaw the hit monster movie Godzilla, and star Oscar nominee Felicity Jones.

It is said to be based on an idea from John Knoll, the Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic.

The movie also brings together producing talents who have worked on The Dark Knight Rises, Band of Brothers and War of The Worlds, Empire magazine reports. 

The omission of JJ Abrams from either creative team presents "an intriguing possibility in regards to Disney's approach to the franchise", says Cinema Blend.

The original six films were known to have been "tightly controlled and micromanaged" by George Lucas from the director's chair and many – particularly the most recent three movies – "were not seen as artistic achievements". The idea of rotating directors and writers with each new film "could be indicative of [Disney] trying to make the creative process more organic, keeping things fresh", Cinema Blend adds.

Rogue One is set to begin filming in London this summer and will be released on 16 December 2016.

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