Gareth Edwards, who helmed this year's Godzilla and 2010's Monsters, will direct the first Star Wars film to take place outside of the core episodic saga. Lucasfilm and Disney have begun work on several stand-alone Star Wars films, as well as the forthcoming trilogy. The companies did not reveal any plot details for the Edwards-directed movie, but they did say it would be written by Gary Whitta (After Earth, The Book of Eli) and will open in theaters on December 16th, 2016.
"Ever since I saw Star Wars, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – join the Rebel Alliance," Edwards said in a statement. "I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm."
Whitta, who also wrote a video-game adaptation of The Walking Dead, was similarly excited to dabble on the dark side. "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," he said in a statement. "It is deeply special to me, so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a filmmaker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I'm still pinching myself."
Disney announced that it would be making stand-alone films in February 2013, focusing on characters outside of the main saga. Initially, the studio said that Lawrence Kasdan, who helped write The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, would work on the films but he has since hopped over to Star Wars VII.
The month of the announcement, actor Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episodes I – III, expressed interest in starring in one of the spin-offs. His thought was a movie about Kenobi's time on Tatooine, before Episode I, could serve as an interesting plot. "That might be my window, there, to tell that story," he said. "I don't know what he did in the desert. We could make up some stuff."