At a shareholders meeting in SF this morning, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger made a few big announcements with regard to the Star Wars franchise, and fans across the internet are already going nuts. First off, the title of the first Star Wars stand-alone feature will be Rogue One, and it will star Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla). The other news: Looper director Rian Johnson has officially been confirmed as director of Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is set for release on May 26, 2017 forty years (and one day) after the release of the original Star Wars film in 1977.
The rumor that Johnson was signed on to direct the next two films in the series dates back to last June, but now it's made official.
The news was posted on StarWars.com, and Johnson immediately took to Twitter to crack wise.
I can FINALLY officially announce that the rumors were true... yes, I will be a GUEST VOICE ON S2 of @BoJackHorseman! Thrilled beyond words.— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) March 12, 2015
Johnson is a well respected writer-director who's already built a sci-fi following because of 2012's Looper, and he was also the director on three episodes of Breaking Bad, "Fly", "Fifty-One", and "Ozymandias," the latter which was named the best in the series overall by series creator Vince Gilligan.
Back in 2012 when Disney snapped up Lucasfilm for $4 billion, George Lucas said that he was ready to pass along the Star Wars franchise to "the next generation of filmmakers." Episode Seven of the franchise, the first to be made by Disney with Lucas only as consultant, titled Star Wars: The Force Awakens, comes out December 18. It's directed by J.J. Abrams and stars Lupita Nyong'o and Girls' Adam Driver, with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill all reprising their original roles. See that trailer below.
As for the title of the stand-alone feature, Rogue One, which will be written by About a Boy screenwriter Chris Weitz and is due out in December 2016, Rogue One is what Luke Skywalker was called in The Empire Strikes Back.
Luke Skywalker is Rogue One in The Empire Strikes Back. Wedge Antilles is in Return of the Jedi. Looks like Felicity Jones gets that title?— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) March 12, 2015