Let's get the smaller, but by no means unimportant, piece of Star Wars information out first. The as-yet-untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII has been given a release date of May 26, 2017! This means that Episode VIII will come about a year and a half after Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, which is set to hit theaters December 18th of this year. The film will be written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper). This will definitely be the longest year and a half of our lives as we wait for Episode VIII. Or will it?
Fear not, Padawan, because we've been given our first official Star Wars spin-off: Rogue One, which is set to be released December 16, 2016! Now, to the untrained eye, this title is pretty meaningless, but for you keen Star Wars nerds out there, you'll know exactly what this is a reference to: Rogue Squadron! Now, ignoring all of the Expanded Universe (EU) stuff (considering it isn't canon anyway), Rogue Leader (or "Rogue One") is the lead pilot of the Rogue Squadron. In Star Wars (Episode IV—A New Hope as some know it), we have the Rebel Alliance attacking the Death Star in what would be known as The Battle of Yavin. Many of you may remember the semi-famous "standing by" lines from the movie, which were parodied in Family Guy's "Blue Harvest." At that point, the Alliance Starfighter Corps were made up mostly of Red Squadron, Gold Squadron, Green Squadron, and Blue Squadron. After destroying the Death Star, Red Squadron was renamed "Rogue Squadron," with the Red Leader now being branded "Rogue Leader."
So, what will the movie involve? Well, in Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi, Rogue Squadron was renamed "Red Squadron" again during the Battle of Endor, so assuming they didn't change the name BACK to "Rogue Squadron" (remember, ignore the EU), this tells me that Rogue One could take place anywhere between the end of A New Hope and the start of Return of the Jedi, so possibly concurrent to Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back. If they choose to go this route, this would make "Rogue One" either Luke Skywalker, who served as Rogue Leader during the Battle of Hoth, or Wedge Antilles, who served as Rogue Leader after the Battle of Hoth and until the title changed during the Battle of Endor.
Now, if they wanted to, Red Squadron could have reverted back to Rogue Squadron after the events of Return of the Jedi, which means anyone could theoretically be "Rogue One." This means the spinoff film could take place at any time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, or even between The Force Awakens and Episode VIII. Rogue One will be written by Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, Cinderella) and directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla ). The film will also star Felicity Jones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Theory of Everything) in an undisclosed role.
So for all of you who don't like reading paragraphs and just want the gist of the announcement:
- Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens (December 18, 2015)
- Directed by J.J. Abrams
- Written by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan
- Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher
- Rogue One (December 16, 2016)
- Directed by Gareth Edwards
- Written by Chris Weitz
- Starring Felicity Jones
- Star Wars: Episode VIII (May 26, 2017)
- Directed by Rian Johnson
- Written by Rian Johnson
What do you make of the Star Wars news? Do you like the named writers and directors? Are you excited for the very first Star Wars spinoff film? What do you think Rogue One will be about? Let us know in the comments section! Thanks for reading, everyone! My name is Sam Lascio, and I am a Jedi! And, uh, a Fanboy.