Another writer departure is taking place on a new Star Wars film. Michael Arndt famously worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a year before exiting the project over reported creative differences, after which J.J Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan performed significant rewrites. This new departure appears to be quite a bit more amicable, as Gary Whitta is leaving what will be the first new Star Wars spinoff movie, to be directed by Gareth Edwards. The two have been working on the project for a year, but a new writer is expected to be hired on to get the film in shape before its December 16, 2016 release date. More after the jump.
News of Whitta’s exit was first reported by THR, which has some cheerful comments from both Edwards and Whitta about their time together on the film, with Edwards adding “I enjoyed working with him tremendously, I’m so grateful for all of his contributions.” Whitta took to Twitter shortly afterwards to reveal which project he’s working on next:
My year of work in a galaxy far, far away is done! I’m onto my next project, adapting @mrmarkmillar’s STARLIGHT for 20th Century Fox!
— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) January 10, 2015
Starlight kicked into gear a few months ago, and it appears that Fox is ready to get a move-on. Official details regarding the Star Wars spinoff—formally referred to as a “standalone movie”—have yet to be revealed, but a recent rumor claims that it will be a heist film that involves bounty hunters looking to steal the plans for the Death Star. That puts its setting just before the events of A New Hope, making the film a nice bit of connective tissue between these new films and the original trilogy. But of course, none of this has been confirmed just yet.
Edwards did a hell of a job putting his own spin on the blockbuster format with Godzilla, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with Star Wars. We should hear word about a new writer soon, as I’m sure Lucasfilm wants to get production underway by this fall in anticipation of that December 2016 release date.