And the meteoric rise of director Gareth Edwards has just gone up to another level. Having started off with the small-budget creature feature, Monsters, he jumped from that into Godzilla, which last week had one of the year's biggest openings and already totals more than $200M. While talk of a sequel has already begun, Edwards may be too busy heading to a galaxy far far away.
Lucasfilm has tapped Edwards to direct the first of their Star Wars spinoffs, now set for release on December 16th 2016. This fits with the overall plan of alternating between official trilogy films, with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII arriving in December 2015, and spinoffs following other characters in the Star Wars universe. While we don't know the plot of Edwards' film, we do know that Gary Whitta will be writing the screenplay. Whitta wrote the critically-reviled, Razzie-nominated screenplay for Will Smith's After Earth, but he also wrote a solid script for The Book of Eli. Han Solo, Boba Fett, and Yoda are all rumored to be getting their own solo films but we don't know if those are what Edwards has agreed to.
Edwards has shown he has a great eye for visual effects whether working on a tight budget or a large one, so this is pretty exciting news. Here's the full press release:
In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney have begun development on multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. Gareth Edwards will direct the first stand-alone film, with a screenplay by Gary Whitta. The film is due out December 16, 2016.
Gareth Edwards blazed into the filmmaking forefront with his acclaimed work on Monsters, a film he wrote, directed and served on as cinematographer and visual effects artist. The skill and vision readily apparent in Monsters earned him the high-profile spot directing this year’s smash hit Godzilla
“Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited & honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm, said Edwards.
Gary Whittas screenwriting credits include 2010s The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. He is also well known as a journalist and editor in the video game industry, as well as part of the BAFTA award-winning team on Telltale Games adaptation of The Walking Dead.
Whitta states, “From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me,so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth,is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”