Screenwriter Gary Whitta tweeted today that he’s writing an episode of Rebels. As Whitta was the first writer on Rogue One – and in fact came up with the title – this has naturally launched some speculation that the episode may tie into the film, which is due out December 2016. Both the show and the movie predate A New Hope and involve the Rebellion, so connections are by no means out of the question.
If Rebels continues to air the bulk of their seasons beginning in the fall, 2016 would mean season 3, which is as far as the show has been renewed for at the moment.
But that really is all speculation – all we really know is that he’s writing an episode, nothing more.
/Film talked to Chris Weitz, the new screenwriter for Spin-off #1. We don’t learn much (will this mystery box ever open?) but he does more or less confirm that Garry Whitta’s draft is still in play. When asked to compare it to Cinderella:
I think in this case I’m not working from a whole cloth, right? So there’s a very strong structure from Gary’s work and that’s a huge advantage to me. But just like with Cinderella, it’s a director’s medium so it’s really about my making what Gareth needs to do his film.
They also talked to Whitta a few weeks ago, something that got lost in the shuffle over here.
Cinelinx says they know why screenwriter Gary Whitta is off Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars film: Because, as many of us guessed, that’s exactly what he was hired to do. They also maintain that Simon Kinberg is coming on.
And, for the record, none of this is particularly unusual:
This isn’t a new thing, by any stretch of the imagination, as studios have long used this model to develop their films, bringing in writers to finish a script from the basic draft, and we hear about it all the time. The reason this seems like such a big deal is that it’s freaking STAR WARS, and people seemed to want to sensationalize the news.
Their source has also heard that Whitta’s script was too expensive for the film’s budget. (Budget? Star Wars? Well, yeah: It’s still a business, and if anyone is getting a blank check here it’s certainly not a standalone.) That’s likely to be one of the things that Kinberg deals with.
We know that Gary Whitta is done with his part on Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff, but could Simon Kinberg be stepping in? That’s what /Film has heard. Kinberg is already firmly entrenched in the franchise, and was even originally announced as the writer of an eventual standalone, though he hasn’t been officially attached to any of the films as of yet.
In other words, he’s the perfect person to tweak and polish Whitta’s script – perhaps that was the plan all along?
THR says there will be a new writer, but Lucasfilm isn’t naming anyone just yet. Whatever the case, this doesn’t appear to be quite as dramatic as what we saw with Michael Arndt* and Episode VII, and the new writer may very well just be tweaking Whitta’s script.
I don’t expect we’ll hear anything definitive until/if Lucasfilm chooses to give us their crew breakdown, assuming they follow a similar template to The Force Awakens‘ announcements… Though at this point, I’m not expecting anything until they actually begin filming. That’s expected to happen in a matter of months, given the December 16, 2016 release date.
* Granted, Michael Arndt was not on Twitter. Whitta is pretty awesome at it, Star Wars or no Star Wars.