While there are enough Star Wars rumours going around to fill a Star Destroyer, we've just had some major official news about the galaxy far, far away drop from Disney itself. Let's burn through all the details before letting the usual wild speculating begin then!
First up, Star Wars: Episode VIII now has a release date. The second movie in the new core trilogy of films will release on May 26th 2017, returning the franchise to its traditional summer schedule, and landing forty years and a day after Star Wars: A New Hope hit cinemas back in 1977. It'll follow directly on from the events of this year's Episode VII, with Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick, The Brothers Bloom) set to write and direct. J J Abrams will serve as a producer.
But perhaps the most intriguing news surrounds that of the franchise's first stand alone movie. We've long known its release date (December 16th, 2016) and its director (Godzilla's Gareth Edwards), but now we've got a name too -- the first Star Wars spin-off movie will be called Rogue One. Interestingly, it doesn't appear to be carrying the "Star Wars" prefix in the title -- that may be a quirk of the Disney press release, or an intentional omission. Make of that what you will.
Described as "the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga", Felicity Jones of The Theory of Everything is now confirmed to star, following a spate of rumours surrounding the casting. Oscar nominee Chris Weitz will write from an idea laid down by John Knoll, who will also produce.
So, speculation time! Until this point, everything has been pointing towards this first stand-alone film being a Boba Fett adventure, following the bounty hunter and a gang of pals as they attempt to steal Death Star plans. While this still isn't out of the question (smoke and fire and all that) the new title seems very descriptive: the Rogue Squadron was the crack orange-jumpsuited pilots that took to the stars in X-Wings, Y-Wings and B-Wings for the series' dramatic space battles. Could we get a film focussing on these hot shots? Top Gun in space? Of all the extended universe, the Rogue Squadron novels were among the best received. While Disney has been keen to cut off and compartmentalise the extended universe, perhaps this will take its cues from that series.
Or maybe it'll be a crossover with Rogue from the X-Men and Keanu "The One from The Matrix" Reeves, down the pub with Chewbacca. Any ideas? [Disney]
Image Credit: Star Wars Wikia