Disney dates Star Wars Episode VIII, titles first Star Wars spin-off

Speaking at the annual Disney shareholders meeting, Disney chairman and CEO, Bob Iger had quite the big announcement to share with the Star Wars faithful. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally set to expand the franchise under Disney’s new management at the end of this year, Iger also confirmed that the first Star Wars spin-off movie, set for December 16th, 2016, will officially be titled, “Rogue One.” Yes, apparently just, “Rogue One” at this point, not, “Star Wars: Rogue One.”

Felicity JonesIger was mum on plot specifics for the spin-off, which is set to be directed by Godzilla reboot helmer, Gareth Edwards, though he did confirm that The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Felicity Jones would star in the lead role. This would appear to squash the rumour that the spin-off is about fan-favourite Mandalorian bounty hunter, Boba Fett, who appeared to meet a grisly end in the Sarlacc Pit during the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, but was later retconned to have survived that fate in the extended universe media, which may or may not be non-canon now, given that Disney has now removed much of the extended universe stories from Star Wars continuity.

Another rumour however states that the spin-off may be a heist movie, specifically one that involves stealing the plans for the Death Star, the deadly, planet-destroying space station that made two appearances in the original movie trilogy. It’s also worth noting that the term, “Rogue One” is applied to the leader of Rogue Squadron, a fleet of rebel ships that were featured in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and also appeared throughout extended universe media, including starring in their own successful series of flight-action video games, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.Star Wars 7 - Footage

Along with the official title and lead actor for Rogue One, Disney also officially confirmed that, as was long rumoured, Looper director, Rian Johnson has officially been signed to both write and direct Star Wars Episode VIII, which was finally given a solid release date of May 26th, 2017 during today’s earnings call. Nothing was shared about Star Wars Episode VIII, though given that George Lucas’s ‘Episode’ branding was dropped for the series’ seventh movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s likely that the eighth mainline installment will be titled something else entirely by the time it hits theatres.

Keep standing by on Eggplante for all news and updates on Star Wars movie projects.