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‘Godzilla’ filmmaker to direct ‘Star Wars’ spinoff

- May 23rd, 2014

Turns out directing a fire-breathing monster was good practice for what’s coming next for Gareth Edwards. The man who injected new life into the moribund monster franchise currently stomping out the competition at the box office (at least until X-Men opens this weekend) has been tapped to direct the first stand-alone Star Wars spinoff.

The news, which was announced on StarWars.com Thursday, did not specify the subject matter of the new film but it has been speculated that new spinoffs would focus on the bounty hunter Boba Fett, Yoda or a young Han Solo.

The film will be written by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth).

“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 and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm,” Edwards said in a statement.

Whitta, who has also written a video game adaptation of The Walking Dead, added: “From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me,so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”

Prior to directing Godzilla, Edwards’ only directing credit was the indie sci-fi horror Monsters. In a 2010 interview with my colleague Jim Slotek to promote that film Edwards said: “If you’d have asked me when I was 12, I’d have thought I’d have made a film by 22, straight out of university. But that was really naive.”

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Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is seen in Toronto, May 15, 2014. (Dave Thomas, QMI Agency)

Last week, when he was in Toronto to promote Godzilla, another colleague Bruce Kirkland asked Edwards about delaying the big reveal. “I’d be more nervous about throwing it in early,” the British filmmaker said. “Because then you’ve spent one of your best cards in your hand. You’re trying to win the game and you’ve got to play it at just the right time.”

Sounds like the Force is strong with this one.

Edwards’ stand-alone Star Wars film will hit theatres Dec. 16, 2016.

New ‘Star Wars’ movies every year starting in 2015

- April 17th, 2013

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So, good news if you’re a Star Wars fan. Disney has revealed it has big plans in store for the franchise.

Starting with 2015′s Episode VII, the company is planning a new film every year for at least five years.

Disney made the announcement at CinemaCon earlier today. The plan will see the company alternate between a new trilogy of films being kickstarted by J.J. Abrams and various spinoff pictures.

In February, Disney announced plans for standalone films focusing on a young Han Solo and Boba Fett.

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In addition to the Solo and Fett films, Ain’t it Cool reported that a standalone Yoda film is also in the works.

Episode VII will hit theatres in the summer of 2015 along with Avengers 2. So it will definitely be a busy summer for Disney, which owns both properties.

Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) is writing the screenplay for Episode VII, with Empire Strikes Back scribe, Lawrence Kasdan, and Simon Kinsberg (Sherlock Holmes, X-Men: Days of Future Past) writing the other two instalments.

Is this Star Wars overload or movie-going heaven? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Disney plans Han Solo and Boba Fett ‘Star Wars’ spin-offs

- February 6th, 2013

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Earlier this week, Disney announced that in addition to a new Star Wars trilogy, they plan on releasing a series of spin-off films as well.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger confirmed that Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) is scripting one of the films, with Simon Kinberg developing another.

Entertainment Weekly is now reporting that the proposed spin-off films will focus on Han Solo and Boba Fett.

According to EW.com, the film focusing on Han Solo will be set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope.

Solo, who was played by Harrison Ford in the films, has an extensive history outside of the film cannon. The character had his own prequel story told in The Han Solo Trilogy.

Solo’s adventures post-Return of the Jedi were also recounted in a series of books in which his son becomes a Sith lord.

Because the film would be following Solo as a younger man, it’s unlikely Harrison Ford would turn up unless writers toss a time travel curveball into the mix.

The Boba Fett spin-off is set to take place between Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

Like Solo, Fett has an extensive storyline outside of his film appearances. The character pops up in The Clone Wars television program and stars in his own series of books.

Because of the timeframe of the proposed sequels, fans should expect to see Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Jabba the Hut in some capacity.

In addition to the Solo and Fett films, Ain’t it Cool reported that a standalone Yoda film is also in the works.

No release date for the spin-offs have been announced, but Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) is currently writing Episode VII, with J. J. Abrams directing.

That film is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015.