×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Star Wars’: Lucasfilm Chief Previews ‘Rogue One’ and Han Solo Spinoff

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” dominated the box office last winter by recapturing the spirit of adventure that had been missing from George Lucas’ critically derided prequels. The enthusiastic reception helped justify Disney’s decision to pony up $4 billion to buy Lucasfilm, the home of the Skywalker clan and Indiana Jones. It also kicks off the media giant’s plan to broaden the boundaries of the “Star Wars” universe to include a series of spinoff films over the next few years.

“One of the many wonderful byproducts of the universe that George created is that nearly anything can happen within it,” says J.J. Abrams, the director of “The Force Awakens.” “There are other stories that we can tell in that same transportive and transcendent spirit. Going forward, you’re going to see movies that shift tonally, some that are grittier and tougher, and some more comedic in nature.”

The first of these standalones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” hits theaters next month. It’s a prequel that will focus on the Rebel Alliance’s attempts to steal the plans for the Death Star. But it will be different from other “Star Wars” films in a number of important ways. The picture won’t be directed by Abrams but by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”). It marks the first film in the series without a score by John Williams; Michael Giacchino (“Jurassic World”) will put his spin on the music. And unlike previous “Star Wars” adventures, “Rogue One” most likely will not begin with a narrative crawl updating viewers on the latest doings in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy describes the movie as a World War II-style adventure. “We felt that’s so indicative of what those saga films are,” says Kennedy. “Initially, we probably will begin the film in a way that is traditional, with just the title.”

Lucasfilm is also developing a spinoff movie looking at the early days of Han Solo and Chewbacca. Alden Ehrenreich (“Hail, Caesar!”) will take Solo’s blaster from Harrison Ford, with Chris Miller and Phil Lord (“The Lego Movie”) directing.

“This moves closer to a heist or Western type feel,” says Kennedy. “We’ve talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colors that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel of the film.”

“The Force Awakens” was praised for casting Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, a woman and a black man, in lead roles.

Kennedy says she is committed to continuing to populate the “Star Wars” world with diverse faces, both in front of and behind the camera. Finding a female director is a priority; fewer than 12% of the biggest box office hits last year were overseen by women.

“We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do “Star Wars,” they’re set up for success,” says Kennedy. “They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience.”

Kennedy says that because there haven’t been many opportunities for women to direct big movies, the Lucasfilm team is trying to identify talented helmers at the early stages of their careers. “We want to really start to focus in on people we would love to work with and see what kinds of things they’re doing to progress up that ladder now, and then pull them in when the time is right.”

Meanwhile, Lucasfilm is hoping to move beyond moviemaking into more interactive experiences, and has partnered with Magic Leap, a virtual reality start-up, to create new avenues to engage with the “Star Wars” mythology.

“We’re starting to have a lot more conversations with regard to mixed-reality, VR, AR, and what those experiences may be as an adjunct to what we’re doing with these films,” says Kennedy. “There’s no question that we’re going to be exploring that.”

As Lucasfilm plunges forward into the Skywalker family saga, it will do so without Abrams. The director made it clear to Kennedy and Disney chief Bob Iger that he wants to return to more personal projects after making “The Force Awakens.”

“I’d be lying if I said there weren’t pangs of regret,” says Abrams. “Particularly when I realize I won’t get to say ‘Action!’ to Daisy Ridley, or get to work with Mark Hamill in a scene where he gets to speak.”

More Film

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content