'Star Wars' Stand-alone Movie Hiring Oscar-Nominated Writer (Exclusive)

Chris Weitz Portrait - P 2012
<p>Chris Weitz Portrait - P 2012</p>   |   Getty Images
Chris Weitz is being brought in to write the 'Star Wars' spinoff being directed by Gareth Edwards after Gary Whitta exited the project this month

The Star Wars stand-alone movie that Gareth Edwards will direct has found a new writer.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the latest scribe headed to a galaxy far, far away is Chris Weitz, whose credits include the 2002 film About A Boy and Disney's upcoming Cinderella

He will replace Gary Whitta, who exited the Lucasfilm/Disney project earlier this month after he completed a first draft.

Weitz is both a screenwriter and a director, not to mention an author. He received an Oscar nomination for his adapted screenplay for About A Boy, which he also co-directed. His other directing credits include the Oscar-nominated Demian Bichir drama A Better Life, The Golden Compass (he also wrote the script adapting the Philip Pulman YA fantasy) and — perhaps most notably — The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

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He's also in the middle of writing a YA trilogy set in a post-apocalyptic world, with the first book, titled The Young World, having hit shelves last summer. He is repped by WME.

His hiring on Star Wars isn't the first time the franchise has seen a change of writers. Michael Arndt worked on a treatment and script for what would become Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens before leaving it more than a year after commencing. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over the scripting duties.

Edwards' Star Wars movie is heating up and is in the early stages of casting. Actresses were testing in Los Angeles last week.

The movie is one of two spin-offs Disney and Lucasfilm have in development, with Chronicle's Josh Trank set to direct the second.

It has a release date of Dec. 16, 2016, a year after The Force Awakens hits theaters.