Disney and Lucasfilm have detailed the plot and cast of their 2016 film Star Wars: Rogue One, the first live-action anthology film in the space saga. During the Star Wars showcase at Disney’s D23 fan expo in Anaheim, California Saturday, producers revealed that previously announced cast members Felicity Jones and Diego Luna would be joined by Bloodline‘s Ben Mendelsohn, Hannibal‘s Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker in the Gareth Edwards-directed action film.
“Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for Rogue One.”
The anthology film will tell the story of events hinted at in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, where a hologram of Princess Leia speaks in passing about a group of resistance fighters who risked their lives to steal the plans for the Death Star, which Luke Skywalker later destroyed. Rogue One will focus on that mission to steal those blueprints, a heist that sparked the original Star Wars trilogy, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Firefly‘s Alan Tudyk, Hong Kong action star Donnie Yi, Nightcrawler‘s Riz Ahmed and Jiang Wen round out the Rogue One team. Godzilla director Edwards presented the cast at D23 for the first time via video from London, where Rogue One just started filming this week. “We just shot our first ever scene, and we’re just about to shoot our second scene, so I have to go,” Edwards told the crowd. “I look forward to sharing everything with you at the cinema in 2016.” Rogue One is due out December 16, 2016.
In other Star Wars news, producers revealed that Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow would helm the upcoming series’ Episode IX, following J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens and Rian Johnson’s Episode XIII in 2017. Trevorrow’s contribution to the Star Wars cinematic universe is scheduled to hit theaters in 2019.