Disney and Lucasfilm appear to have found the female lead for the first of the standalone Star Wars spinoffs. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar nominee Felicity Jones is in talks to star in the first film.
The spinoff projects have been shrouded in secrecy since Disney made the initial announcement in 2013, but details are now beginning to trickle out. The as-yet-untitled sequel is set to be directed by Gareth Edwards (2014’s Godzilla), with Chris Weitz (Disney’s upcoming live-action Cinderella) signed on just last week to do a rewrite of the original script penned by Gary Whitta.
Jones, fresh off her Oscar-nommed performance as the former wife of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, apparently had some fierce competition for the part, with reports that actresses Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Tatiana Maslany (TV’s Orphan Black) had also read for the top-secret role. Aaron Paul (TV’s Breaking Bad) and Edgar Ramirez (the upcoming Point Break) are rumored to be in the running for the leading man role.
No details have been released on which characters in the Star Wars universe will be featured, but some are speculating that they may be origin stories of beloved characters of the past, while others are predicting that they will revisit events from the past films from a different perspective.
As of now, the film is slated for a December 16, 2016 release. Watch this space for more details as they arise.