“Godzilla” director Gareth Edwards has been tapped to direct Lucasfilm’s first standalone “Star Wars” film — not related to the next planned trilogy — that Disney has dated for release on Dec. 16, 2016.
Gary Whitta (“The Book of Eli”) will write the script.
Lucasfilm, which made the announcement on StarWars.com on Thursday, did not reveal the subject of the new movie, although there have been rumors that the new spinoffs would focus on characters like bounty hunter Boba Fett and Yoda. Disney has said it plans to produce at least three of those films.
Disney also has said it intends to release a new “Star Wars”-related movie (including spinoffs) every year starting with next year’s “Star Wars: Episode VII,” that J.J. Abrams is currently directing, and will be released Dec. 18, 2015.
Along with his love for classic monster movies, Edwards has also been a longtime fan of George Lucas’ sci-fi franchise.
“Ever since I saw ‘Star Wars’ I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life — join the Rebel Alliance!,” Edwards said in a statement. “I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm.”
Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. scored at the box office last weekend with “Godzilla,” which opened to $93 million Stateside and has gone on to earn $112 million to date. A sequel is in the works.
Before directing “Godzilla,” Edwards’ only directing credit was the $500,000-budgeted “Monsters,” which he also wrote, and handled the cinematography and visual effects.
SEE ALSO: ‘Godzilla’ Director Gareth Edwards, Legendary’s Thomas Tull on Doing the ‘King of the Monsters’ Justice
Whitta’s credits also include having developed Telltale Games’ hit adaptation of “The Walking Dead,” and worked as a journalist and editor in the video game industry.
“From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, ‘Star Wars’ has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer,” Whitta said. “It is deeply special to me, so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”
Legendary chairman Thomas Tull, who pushed for Edwards to direct “Godzilla,” was quick to congratulate the director and his new gig.
“Gareth’s filmmaking talent makes him one of his generation’s most creative and visionary directors,” Tull said in a statement. “The plan has always been for Gareth to direct a different film before we started on another Godzilla, but who knew it would a ‘Star Wars’ installment? We have a great plan in store for Godzilla fans and I am looking forward to seeing Gareth’s imprint on the ‘Star Wars’ universe.”