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J.J. Abrams is currently hard at work on resurrecting the Star Wars franchise, having just recently started working on Star Wars: Episode VII, but he is now no longer the only director working to bring the legendary sci-fi franchise back to the big screen. Gareth Edwards, who experienced monster box office success last weekend with the release of the new Godzilla reboot, has become the first filmmaker hired to helm one of the Disney and Lucasfilm's planned Star Wars spin-off movies.
Sadly, there isn't too much information available about the project. While screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan have been working on two of three Star Wars spin-off movies that have been in the works since Disney first acquired LucasFilm in 2012, the trade says that Edwards will be working from a script written by Gary Whitta (After Earth, Book of Eli). We know even less about what's actually going to be happening in these movies, though it's been rumored that they will be used to tell origin stories of characters established in the original trilogy. Some rumors have suggested that the plots could center on Yoda, Han Solo, Boba Fett or even a squadron of X-Wing pilots.
Said Edwards in an official statement, "Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life - join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited & honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm."
The plan is to release one of these spin-off movies every year that there isn't a new chapter in the saga. This means that Star Wars: Episode VII will come out in 2015, a spin-off will come out in 2016, Episode VIII will come out in 2017, the second spin-off will come out in 2018, Episode IX will come out in 2019, and the third spin-off will come out in 2020. While most of the films don't have release dates, we do know that Episode VII will be in theaters December 18th next year and that the mystery spin-off will be out December 16, 2016.
Edwards was obviously able to do quite well when handed a big budget and a vastly popular franchise, though Godzilla was really his first time in that position. In 2010 he wrote and directed the sci-fi movie Monsters, which earned critical acclaim, but was made for a very, very tiny budget. Edwards got $160 million to make Godzilla and the investment is paying off in a big way, as the film opened in the United States with a $93 million take and it has already earned more than $215 million at the global box office. THR's Borys Kit adds that Edwards is still attached to make both Godzilla 2 and Godzilla 3, though it will be interesting to see how the scheduling works out on that.
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