Lucasfilm and Disney have announced via the official Star Wars website, that principal photography has started for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first of the Star Wars “Anthology Series” that will be released every other year, between the main episodes.
Rogue One will follow the band of rebels who stole the plans for the original Death Star that were used in the attack to destroy it in Star Wars: A New Hope. The new film will star Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Ben Mendelsohn (Slow West), Mads Mikkelsen (TV’s Hannibal), Diego Luna (Milk), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), Alan Tudyk (Serenity), and Forest Whitaker (Southpaw). While no specific roles have been announced, Lucasfilm has released the film’s title logo (above) as well as a cast photo that includes Jones, Mendelsohn, Ahmed, Luna as well as Wen Jiang (Gone with the Bullets) and Donnie Yen (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend). Whitaker, Tudyk, and Mikkelsen’s absence in the released photo of the rebel operatives leads us to believe the trio will likely play the film’s villains.
Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) is directing the movie. He is the latest indie director to break into the world of studio blockbusters after he directed the indie sci-fi film Monsters in 2010 and followed that up with 2014’s Godzilla. Indie directors have been brought on to direct blockbusters with varying levels of success, including Colin Trevorrow with Jurassic World and Josh Trank with Fantastic Four. Edwards stands apart from his colleagues in that he already found success working on a blockbuster with Godzilla. Following a similar path, Trevorrow is directing the ninth film in the main Star Wars series.
Disney plans to release the Star Wars anthology films in between the main series episodes. Other rumored films planned for the series include an origin story for the Mandalorian bounty hunter, Boba Fett, and another surrounding the origin of famed smuggler/scoundrel, Han Solo. Trank was originally set to direct the second film – which we now know is the Boba Fett film – before the director parted ways with the project.
Rogue One is currently set to be released on December 16, 2016, nearly one year after The Force Awakens.