'Star Wars' Spinoff Hires 'Godzilla' Director Gareth Edwards (Exclusive)
Fresh off the success of Godzilla, filmmaker Gareth Edwards has lined up his next project, something set in a galaxy far, far away.
Edwards is attached to direct one of the Star Wars spinoff films, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
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Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) is writing the script for the movie, which has a release date set for December 16, 2016, said Disney and Lucasfilm in a statement later posted on the official Star Wars website.
Due to the high level of secrecy surrounding the Star Wars development process, it is unclear which spinoff Edwards will tackle.
Speculation has focused on characters such as bounty hunter Boba Fett and Jedi master Yoda as those who might be getting their own movies. There are also rumors of a potential Han Solo origin story or at least something on the Solo clan, and untold adventures of Luke Skywalker.
"Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life - join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited & honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm," said Edwards in a statement release after THR broke the news.
Earlier in May, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that there was a plan to make at least three spinoff movies that would be released in between the main installments.
It has been reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are writing and producing the spinoffs.
The Star Wars project marks an amazing career trajectory for Edwards, who went from making a small creature feature for $500,000, 2010’s Monsters, to getting the assignment to take on Godzilla, a monster in need of a 21st century rehabilitation.
The mission was a success, with the Legendary/Warner Bros. movie overperforming when it opened last weekend, grossing $93.1 million. The movie also received strong critical reviews and plenty of fanboy love.
"Gareth's filmmaking talent makes him one of his generation's most creative and visionary directors,” said Legendary Entertainment’s chairman and CEO Thomas Tull in a statement in response to the Star Wars hire. "The plan has always been for Gareth to direct a different film before we started on another Godzilla, but who knew it would a Star Wars installment? We have a great plan in store for Godzilla fans and I am looking forward to seeing Gareth’s imprint on the Star Wars universe."
WME-repped Edwards is attached to direct Godzilla 2 and 3, but while story ideas exist, the Godzilla 2 project is still in early development and does not even have a script.
That frees up Edwards to be part of what is not only one of the biggest franchises in history, but also a project that is a dream for so many filmmakers who grew up loving and being inspired by the storied George Lucas universe.
Star Wars: Episode VII, with J.J. Abrams directing, just began production in Abu Dhabi. The film is set to hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2015.
Disney and Lucasfilm had no comment.
by Graeme McMillan
by Patrick Shanley