11:39am PT by Rebecca Ford
Director Gareth Edwards Reveals 'Star Wars: Rogue One' Centers on Death Star Heist
On the final day of the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, one of the newest members of the Lucasfilm family — spinoff director Gareth Edwards — took the stage to talk about joining a galaxy far, far away.
Josh Trank, who was also slated to appear at the panel, was not able to attend. Moderator Pablo Hidalgo said he has been "under the weather."
Edwards is set to direct stand-alone film Star Wars: Rogue One, starring Felicity Jones, which is slated for release in December 2016. He was able to share more details about the film, including a logline, concept art and a bit of a sizzle reel at Sunday's event.
The helmer was joined by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and head of development Kiri Hart for the event, held at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Hidalgo revealed that the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, which debuted on Thursday, was viewed 88 million times worldwide in the first 24 hours.
But the focus of the panel was the stand-alone films. "We really wanted freedom to do some films that could stand on their own, and tell new stories," said Hart, who revealed that they're calling them "anthology films."
Edwards says he'll start shooting this summer. But he did come with a sizzle reel, of sorts. It showed a jungle landscape, and then, hovering large in the sky, the Death Star.
"The Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic, before the dark times, before the Empire," said the voiceover.
Hidalgo also revealed an official logline for the film: "A rogue band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans."
Edwards, who said that the film is set after Episode III and before Episode IV, added that his film won't have clear-cut villains and heroes. It's also very much a war film, he said. "It's called Star WARS," he joked, getting a laugh from the crowd.
“It’s about the fact that god’s not coming to save us, and we’re on our own,” said Edwards. “The absence of the Jedi is omnipresent in the film. It hangs over the whole movie.”
Edwards confirmed that the one castmember who has been announced, Jones, will play a Rebel in the film.
Star Wars Celebration, which runs April 16-19 at the Anaheim Convention Center, is a fan-centric event focused on all things Star Wars that began in 1999. Unlike most conventions, this one has traveled not only around the U.S. but around the planet. Six were held in the U.S., one in Japan and two in Europe. The last one occurred in 2013 in Essen, Germany, attracting more than 20,000 attendees.