STAR WARS Spinoff to Be Directed by GODZILLA Helmer Gareth Edwards; December 16, 2016 Release Set

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After the gargantuan success of Legendary and Warner Bros.’ Godzilla, many figured that director Gareth Edwards’ next step would be a sequel to the monster movie.  After all, Godzilla 2 was recently confirmed as being in the works and Edwards had been catapulted into the director’s chair of a massive studio tentpole after helming a tiny, tiny budget sci-fi drama called Monsters.  He steered Godzilla to both commercial and critical acclaim, but it appears that Legendary and WB weren’t the only ones to take notice, as Edwards has now been enlisted to take the helm of one of the Star Wars spinoff films.

Hit the jump for more, including who’s writing Edwards’ film and the news that he’s also attached to direct a pair of Godzilla sequels. [Update: We've also added a statement from Legendary CEO Thomas Tull regarding the Godzilla sequels.]

star-wars-gareth-edwardsHeat Vision broke the news that Edwards will next direct the first Star Wars spinoff film, and Lucasfilm subsequently confirmed Edwards’ involvement, adding that the pic will open in theaters in 3D on December 16, 2016.  Due to the highly secretive nature of the Star Wars franchise, it’s unclear exactly which film Edwards will be directing, but previous rumors have claimed that Lucasfilm is prepping standalone films about Boba Fett, Yoda, and Han Solo.

As a big fan of Edwards’ approach to Godzilla, I think this is an inspired choice.  The filmmaker brought something fresh and inventive to the blockbuster tentpole genre, and I can’t wait to see what he does within the Star Wars universe.

Though Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were enlisted to pen the scripts of these spinoff films a while ago, Lucasfilm notes that Book of Eli and After Earth screenwriter Gary Whitta is writing the script for Edwards’ spinoff.  Most recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that they would be making “at least” three spinoff movies, poised to be released in between the main franchise installments.  With this one already set for 2016, we can bet that Episode VIII will hit in December 2017, followed by another spinoff in 2018, and so on and so forth.

gareth-edwards-star-warsThe report confirms that Edwards is attached to direct Godzilla 2 and even Godzilla 3, but those films are in the nascent stages and don’t even have scripts yet.  As such, Edwards’ next project will take place in a galaxy far, far away.  Legendary CEO Thomas Tull confirmed that Godzilla 2 is a ways off in his statement regarding the Star Wars news:

“The plan has always been for Gareth to direct a different film before we started on another Godzilla, but who knew it would a Star Wars installment? We have a great plan in store for Godzilla fans and I am looking forward to seeing Gareth’s imprint on the Star Wars universe.”

star-wars-boba-fett-spinoffRead the full official press release below.  Star Wars: Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, opens in theaters on December 18, 2015.

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 and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm,” said Edwards.

Gary Whittas screenwriting credits include 2010′s 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.”

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