Writer Gary Whitta moves on from first Star Wars spinoff

whitta-script-tweetAccording to The Hollywood Reporter and Gary Whitta himself, his time on director Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff is up.

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.

Star Wars spin-off #1 moving into Pinewood soon

Day 1 at PinewoodMaking Star Wars reports that a production office for Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars film will be moving into Pinewood soon. The latest James Bond film, Spectre, began filming earlier this month, and it’s expected that much of the crew will move back onto Star Wars when that’s done.

We still know little-to-nothing about the Edwards film, our first standalone. Solidly, we only know that it’s being written by Gary Whitta and has a release date of December 16, 2016. Cinematographer Greig Fraser has admitted to being on board.

Rumorwise, there’s a supposed plot and a code name, plus the usual litany of wish-listed character names like Boba Fett.

There has not been a single casting rumor, which seems pretty odd… Or maybe not. In any case, we’ll probably hear something by spring, just as we did when The Force Awakens began filming. Jason at MSW hopes we’ll get more details about this once things really get going, and I’d be happy just to not have to call it ‘Spin-off #1’ at some point.

The Force Awakens roundup: Here’s one way to get your own soccer ball droid

3D-ball-droid1→ There’s already a 3D-printable pattern of the soccer ball droid. It’s a 1:1 scale, but: Your move, Hasbro. (Has anyone checked on the R2 Builders? Are they okay?)

→ Tosche Station’s Nanci makes the case for unlearning what you’ve learned.

→ Hey, remember spoilers and concept art and all that jazz? Making Star Wars hasn’t: They have a description of an “exotic city” that may be related to one of the places we saw in the trailer.

→ On that note, did Star Wars Underworld reveal the code name for Gareth Edwards and Gary Whitta’s spin-off film?

→ I know we’ve heard all this before, but here’s Mark Hamill talking about George Lucas talking about the sequel trilogy in 1983.

Rumor: The plot of the first Star Wars standalone?

rumors-swirl-sw-ootMoving aside from the developing trailer madness, we have a report from /Film of the plot of the first spin-off from director Gareth Edwards and writer Gary Whitta. They claim it involves something we saw done multiple times in the old EU: The theft of the Death Star plans. Except this one involves bounty hunters and a character we might actually met in The Force Awakens first.

It’s not the kind of character-centric story we were expecting, but still sounds like something that will quite firmly fall into the ‘origin stories’ quote we have from Disney CFO Jay Rasulo. Thoughts?

Another Star Wars film will be shooting at Pinewood

Day 1 at PinewoodIt’s certainly not a surprise, but Pinewood CEO Ivan Dunleavy (via Variety) confirms that another Star Wars film will shoot at Pinewood. The Hollywood Reporter says this will be the mysterious spin-off from Gareth Edwards, which already has a December 2016 release date.

The BBC has video of Artoo’s appearance at the announcement. Reporter Lizo Mzimba also notes that per Pinewood’s website, The Force Awakened used their Exterior Tank.

We already know that Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII will film in London as well, and that there’s a ten-year deal in place with Pinewood so it won’t be the last.

Rumor: John Williams scoring an Episode VII trailer in November?

Rumors!→ A source has told the John Williams Fan Network that Williams has received a trailer for Episode VII from J.J. Abrams, has already written the music for it, and will be scoring on November 15th. Jason at Making Star Wars points out:

My bet has always been we would not see a trailer until Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in 2015, 8 months before Star Wars: Episode VII is released. But Trek friends have let me know that each time Abrams did a film, he did a teaser with stuff not from the film itself and that could mean we are about to see something for Christmas. The one thing I will say, is I have heard we would see the Star Wars “kick off” really begin at about the one year mark before the film and this lines up really well with that.

The earliest teaser for Star Trek Into Darkness I can recall definitely had footage, but I probably wouldn’t have bothered to cover one here that didn’t. (Well, not for Trek, anyway.) I hope there is a December teaser for Episode VII, even if it’s just old footage and a title – but Disney, you’re still not going to get me to see Into the Woods.

→ Taking a beeline to the standalones for a moment – Cinematographer Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty, Snow White and the Huntsman) has told Hitfix that he’ll be working on the Gareth Edwards Star Wars film that’s aiming for December 2016.

→ The Irish Examiner has some technical details on the Skellig Michael (aka Sceilig Mhichíl) shot, which was significantly scaled down.

→ Also at MSW, we have the last of the new alphabet fighters and more on Han Solo’s wardrobe.

→ Just when you think we’re free of Benedict Cumberbatch… He admits he’s been to the set. UGH.

Today in Episode VII: Another actor on Skellig Michael

→ Today word comes that [redacted] isn’t the only actor filming scenes on Ireland’s Skellig Michael. [Redacted] is there as well, per The Movie Bit – just as some suspected due to the fuzzy paparazzi pics the other day. This is supposedly the third and last day of filming on the island. Making Star Wars has a buddy in the area.

Rumors!→ Meanwhile, some WWE guy, Sheamus O’Shaunessy, is apparently also hanging out in Ireland and double negativing over Darth Vader. Okay then. (Also, if we must take this seriously, well, I’ll just leave this over here.)

→ Not Episode VII, but close enough: Spin-off screenwriter Gary Whitta is totally down with writing a Star Wars novel.

→ And even more tangentially, sequel actors Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson have nabbed some more high profile gigs.

Godzilla director to helm first Star Wars spin-off film

Gareth Edwards directs Elizabeth Olsen in 2014's Godzilla

StarWars.com has announced the creative team for the first standalone Star Wars film: Directing will be Gareth Edwards. He doesn’t have a long resume, but he’s the man behind Hollywood’s latest Godzilla. On script duties is Gary Whitta, who wrote The Book of Eli, After Earth and several Walking Dead video games. The film, whatever it may be, has even been given a release date: December 16, 2016.

This raises a few big questions: We’ve previously heard that spin-offs would be written by Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg, but they are both rather busy: Kasdan has Episode VII, and Kinberg has his fingers in any number of pies. Are Edwards and Whitta doing Boba Fett, as recent rumors say that’s the first? Will Kasdan and Kinberg still be tackling their own spin-offs later on?

As for Edwards and Whitta themselves… I got nothing. The new Godzilla, his first big-budget feature, has been mostly well-received (though rather lacking in the women’s roles.) I’ve seen After Earth, and while it wasn’t great, I’m not sure how much of that you can lay at Whitta’s feet.

And we still have no idea of what their Star Wars film will actually be about. Count me in the shrug column for now.