The Force Will Be With Us For A While As New ‘Star Wars’ Films Are Announced

GameStop, Inc.

star-wars-7

We’ve known for some time that Disney was planning to make the most of its massive purchase of LucasFilm and Star Wars. While there’ve been prevalent rumors that Disney would be releasing a new Star Wars film a year staring Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, there’ve only been rumors of directors hired for spin offs and sequels. Today, however, we’ve finally got some confirmation. First of all, it has been confirmed that Rian Johnson is, in fact, directing Episode VIII, and that film will open on May 26th, 2017. From the press release:

Bob Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is set for release on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. Johnson is widely considered one of cinema’s most gifted young filmmakers, having directed the modern sci-fi classic, Looper, as well as Brick and The Brothers Bloom. He was also behind the camera for three episodes of the critically-acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, including “Ozymandias,” which series creator Vince Gilligan named as the best installment of the show. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, producer of Looper, Don Jon, Brick, and The Brothers Bloom, are on board to produce, and J.J. Abrams will serve as executive producer.

As if that weren’t enough, though, Disney also brought about confirmation for the first spin off, entitled Star Wars: Rouge One and will star Felicity Jones, and Godzilla director Gareth Edwards will be behind the camera. That film is slated to open on December 16th, 2016. From the press release:

Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones, who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything. The idea for the story of Rogue One came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic. He will executive produce along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) are on board to produce and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce. The film starts shooting this summer in London and is due for release on December 16, 2016.

There is some new hope surrounding the resurrected Star Wars franchise, but at the same time I fear that this might be too much too soon. The demand for more Star Wars is there, undoubtedly, but one has to wonder if three films in less than three years might wear down the excitement for a number of fans. I go back to how much the prequels destroyed my optimism for future Star Wars movies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the The Force Awakens, but not with that same fevered anticipation that gave way to bitter disappointment with the prequels. I’ll say this, though, Rian Johnson and Gareth Edwards are solid hires that do give room for lots of optimism. We’ll have a better idea what we’re in store for when The Force Awakens hits theaters in December.

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