When Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, many longtime fans had some trepidation about the deal but that quickly changed as Disney showed in successive announcements that they were serious about returning Star Wars to the prime position it deserves. Then the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer dropped and became an instant phenomena onto itself, with Disney CEO Bob Iger announcing today that the trailer has been viewed over 150 Million times. But Disney is not letting up on the momentum with Disney’s CEO today announcing at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, that Rogue One is the first Star Wars Stand-Alone Film.
Rogue One becomes the first in a series of films that will explore the characters and events that fall outside of the core Star Wars storyline told in the main chapter films. It will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). Felicity Jones has been cast to star in the film. The idea for the story of Rogue One came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic who will be the Executive Producer along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Producing will be Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce. Rouge One begins shooting this summer in London and is due for release on December 16, 2016.