â€œStar Wars: The Force Awakensâ€ is dominating pop culture at the moment as it breaks all kinds of box office records andÂ moves toward potentially dethroning â€œAvatarâ€ as the highest-grossing movie of all time. This is only the beginning of Lucasfilm owner Disneyâ€˜s plans for the blockbuster movie franchise, however.
Back when franchise creator George Lucas was making â€œStar Warsâ€ movies, fans had to wait three years between installments. Now, because of Lucasfilmâ€™s aggressive and ambitious slate, audiences thirsty for more of the Skywalker family saga after Episode VII, â€œThe Force Awakens,â€ need only wait 18 months for Episode VIII. Whatâ€™s more, in just less than a year, the first â€œStar Warsâ€ spinoff movie will hit theaters as Lucasfilm and Disney begin to experiment with characters, concepts and stories within the franchiseâ€™s universe but donâ€™t have a direct connection to the main story.
Here is a look at what â€œStar Warsâ€ fans â€” whether youâ€™re a die-hard or youâ€™re a newbie or youâ€™re back onboard thanks to â€œThe Force Awakensâ€ â€” can expect over the next four years. (Warning: There are spoilers for â€œThe Force Awakensâ€ in this article.)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Release date: Dec. 16, 2016
Cast: Felicity Jones, Donnie Yen, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Alan Tudyk
Director: Gareth Edwards (â€œGodzillaâ€)
The gist: This is the first of the spinoff movies, and itâ€™s likely weâ€™ll see a teaser or a trailer soon given that itâ€™s only less than a year away. Instead of dealing with the core story thatâ€™s been told from Episode I through VII, â€œRogue Oneâ€ will focus on the rebels who banded together to steal the plans for the Empireâ€™s Death Star battle station. It is set in the time frame between the events of â€œEpisode III: Revenge of the Sithâ€ and â€œEpisode IV: A New Hope,â€ and will focus more on the â€œground-war perspectiveâ€ of the fight for the Galaxy, according to producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Also worth noting: Jones, who received an Oscar nomination for â€œThe Theory of Everything,â€ is now the second woman to lead a â€œStar Warsâ€ film following Daisy Ridley in â€œThe Force Awakens.â€
Episode VIII (title not yet known)
Release date: May 26, 2017
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, John Boyega; (presumably) Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac; Benicio Del Toro (rumored)
Director: Rian Johnson (â€œLooperâ€)
The gist: Itâ€™ll pick up after the events of â€œThe Force Awakens,â€ only we donâ€™t know how much longer afterward. Kylo Ren (Driver) is off to finish his training with Supreme Leader Snoke (Serkis), while General Hux (Gleeson) will try to rally the evil First Order after the destruction of Starkiller Base. Finn (Boyega) is recovering from his injuries, while the Resistance, including hot shot pilot Poe Dameron (Isaac), looks to press on after the devastation of the New Republic. Most tantalizing of all is what will happen between Rey (Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Hamill). Will he take his fatherâ€™s lightsaber back from her? Will he train her in the ways of the Force? Director Johnson knows how to handle dark family drama after directing some of the most acclaimed â€œBreaking Badâ€ episodes, someething heâ€™ll need to tap into again if this is going to be the â€œEmpire Strikes Backâ€ of the new trilogy.
Han Solo spinoff (title not yet known)
Release date: Targeted for 2018
Cast: not yet determined
Directors:Â Reportedly Phil Lord and Chris Miller (â€œThe Lego Movieâ€)
The gist: The development of the movie is still in its early stages, but writer Lawrence Kasdan has said the movie will focus on a younger version of Han Solo â€” perhaps 10 years or more â€” than the one we met in â€œA New Hope.â€ Needless to say, Harrison Ford wonâ€™t be playing the part, but Lucasfilm is reportedly casting a wide net to find the right actor to play the young rogue smuggler.
Release date:Â 2019
Cast: Presumably many of the main players from Episodes VII and VIII
Director: Colin Trevorrow (â€œJurassic Worldâ€)
The gist: Weâ€™ll have no idea about this one until we see what happens in Episode VIII, but since this installment is going to conclude the third trilogy of main â€œStar Warsâ€ saga movies, itâ€™s likely this will be a â€œReturn of the Jediâ€-style kitchen-sink action adventure. Trevorrowâ€™s work on â€œJurassic World,â€ which is a box office monster in its own right, shows that he can handle big-time special-effects mayhem, while his work on indie comedy â€œSafety Not Guaranteedâ€ shows he can handle the intimate character stuff, too.
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