Star Wars has certainly seen a surge of popularity sinceDisney nabbed Lucasarts and started plans to film long awaited films episodes seven, eight and nine. Now according to the Hollywood Reporter, they’ve started work on a series spin-off set to release in late 2016. Just to be clear, this is NOT Star Wars Episode VIII. Felicity Jones is being cast in the leading female role, with Chris Weitz writing, but no male lead has been announced nor has a title been provided, despite already having a tentative release date of December 16 2016.
For those of you who don’t know, Felicity Jones is a young actress, born in 1983. Her past work doesn’t seem terribly impressive, though she is an oscar-nominated actress for her role in The Theory of Everything. 2014 was a big year for her, as she also starred in The Amazing Spiderman 2. Looking at her resume beyond that though, and she seems an interesting choice for Star Wars.
As a writer, Chris Weitz seems to be the perfect fit. With movies like New Moon from the Twilight saga, The Golden Compass, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith under his belt, he’s been through the paces of the supernatural and fantastical, as well as action oriented films. All major pluses when it comes to Star Wars films.
Still details are scarce for this new film,and with the writer of the first draft Gary Whitta already replaced, there are a lot of unknowns. It has not been revealed which character in the Star Wars universe it will focus on. The Star Wars spin-off could focus on someone from episode seven, but Felicity Jones has not been announced as starring in that movie. It could focus on a younger Leia perhaps, bridging her story from episode six into episode seven. Though Felicity would be only slightly older than Leia was at the end of episode six, so if that was the case it would have to be set soon after the events of that movie.
The leading male role is up for grabs as well. Aaron Paul and Edgar Ramirez are reportedly on the interest list. If the movie is based around Leia, either one of those men have the looks to make a good Han Solo. It would be a bold move to recast iconic characters in the Star Wars universe, though, and Disney may not be ready to do that. One of the reasons episode seven wasn’t done right after episode six is the stars needed to age naturally. Back To the Future was a great classic, but artificially aging actors just is not the same as the real deal.
Disney’s other option then with this movie is to create a completely new chapter of unrelated characters set within the Star Wars universe. The Star Wars universe is certainly big enough for more characters, but Disney has a tall order ahead to make them memorable enough to stand next to the series’ legendary characters.
At this point, it is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure. Disney has made it clear it intends to produce more, probably far more, Star Wars movies than just episodes seven, eight and nine. Nabbing an up and coming star like Felicity Jones for their Star Wars spin-off is just the beginning.
By Varon Laub
Photo Courtesy of Tony Shek(GabboT) – Flickr License