Disney has hired Chris Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy) to write the the first stand-alone Star Wars spin-off according to The Hollywood Reporter. Weitz joins the project after writer Garry Whitta (The Book of Eli) left the project upon completing the first draft. This is the spin-off that will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla).
The film is the first in a series of announced spin-offs to release in-between the main episodes of the saga. The aim of the films are to tell background characters’ stories, similar to Disney’s strategy with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whereas those films take place in the order they are released, these will reportedly take place in a variety of time periods throughout the saga. Disney is taking a similar approach with Marvel’s new series of Star Wars comics that include a main series as well as separate series’ centered around Darth Vader and Princess Leia.
Weitz has directed a variety of projects, including About a Boy (2002), The Golden Compass (2007), and The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009). More recently, he wrote the screenplay for Disney’s upcoming live-action retelling of Cinderella.
Plot details haven’t been released yet. There are a number of rumored settings for the stand-alone films that include a Bounty Hunter heist movie set around fan-favorite Bobba Fett and Han Solo’s adventures before meeting Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original trilogy. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) was reported to be attached to one of the films but no further information has been released on casting. Josh Trank (Chronicle) will direct the second spin-off.
The film is set to release December 16, 2016, in-between The Force Awakens and Episode VIII.