Breaking today, news is out that Godzilla director Gareth Edwards will helm the first stand-alone Star Wars film, set to be released December 16, 2016. Gary Whitta has been hired to write the screenplay.
Edwards, fresh from his Godzilla gig, made his mark and got noticed with Monsters, a film on which he served as writer, director, cinematographer, and visual effects artist. Prior to that, his work has been limited mainly to short films and documentaries. With the success of Godzilla (and a sequel already in the works), Edwards is a hot commodity at the moment.
Whitta doesn’t have very much of a track record, either, having just The Book of Eli and After Earth as his feature-length writing credits. The rest of his work has been in video games. Genre, yes, but a completely different medium. However, he does have a BAFTA award for his collaborative work on the interactive tie-in game for The Walking Dead.
This news also seems to indicate that Disney seems to be embracing the December release date, but it’s possible that the stand-alone films will take the December slot while the main trilogy will revert back to the traditional May release dates for Episode VIII and Episode IX. Disney chairman Alan Horn has indicated in interviews, that the possibility exists.