Star Wars Rogue One Concept art  - this is concept art from Star Wars The Old Republic

Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Iger made some pretty big Star Wars announcements during the Disney Shareholder Meeting, including a release date for Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: Episode VIII as well as Felicity Jones casting confirmation and the title of the first Star Wars spin-off.

But that wasn’t all, Bob Iger also showed the first piece of concept art for Star Wars: Rogue One, which may surprise you. I think most everyone assumed that with a title like “Rogue One,” the movie would involve the first group of X-Wing pilots but the concept art shows something very different.

(please note: the images above and below are not the Star Wars Rogue One concept art, but images from various games like Star Wars The Old Republic)

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Star Wars: Rogue One

Star Wars news has been announced by Bob Iger on the Disney investor call this morning. The first Star Wars spin-off film, written by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz) and directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters), based on a story by Industrial Light and Magic chief creative officer and effects legend John Knoll, will be titled Star Wars: Rogue One.

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On paper, Chris Weitz might seem like an unlikely choice to write a Star Wars movie. As a director, he’s best at realistic fare like About A Boy and A Better Life. He’s done bigger fantasy too, like The Golden Compass and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, but those are based on books. Even his latest film, Cinderella, is based on a very well known story and uses magic as sparsely as possible. Star Wars is a whole other beast, especially since he’s writing a standalone movie that could literally be about anything.

We were given the chance to speak to Weitz on the occasion of the release of Cinderella and, of course, had to bring up a galaxy far, far away. To recap, he was brought on to rewrite the first standalone movie, which comes out in December 2016 and will be directed by Gareth Edwards. Weitz, speaking to the press for the first time since the announcement, told us about his excitement going after the project, the security behind the process, how he’s using the film’s first screenplay by Gary Whitta, if he’s read the online rumors about the project and, finally, what fans should expect from the movie. Below, read our Chris Weitz Star Wars quotes. Read More »

Gary Whitta Star Wars

Screenwriter Gary Whitta (Book of Eli, After Earth) is about to release his first novel, Abomination. To promote the pre-order of the historical fantasy novel, Whitta sat down with us for an extensive interview spanning his career thus far. Over the course of this week we will be posting all of the parts of this interview broken up into digestible thematic bites — we’re calling it “/Film’s Week Of Whitta”.

In the first installment we wanted to cut to the chase and present the meatiest Gary Whitta Star Wars comments. As you know, Whitta wrote for a year on the first Star Wars spin-off film being directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), which will hit theaters on December 16th 2016. We talked to Whitta about growing up with movies, which includes the original Star Wars trilogy. We also discuss the controversy over comments he’s made about the Star Wars prequels and special editions. (I’m not sure how the comments are controversial, considering most everyone I know shares a similar viewpoint.) And, of course, we talk to Gary about working on the upcoming Star Wars spin-off film, and while his Lucasfilm NDA prevents him from revealing any details, its worth reading. Read the Gary Whitta Star Wars interview after the jump.
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Star Wars sequel trilogy

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18 of this year. The first Star Wars standalone film opens December 16, 2016. After that, we have a good idea of what the next few years have in store for Star Wars but nothing is 100% set in stone. For example, though every single outlet in the world has confirmed Rian Johnson is directing Star Wars Episode VIII, along with the filmmaker himself, the company has yet to acknowledge it. And though we’ve heard there will be a Star Wars movie every single year, only the two dates above are confirmed.

However, the long-term future of Star Wars was recently mentioned by Disney CEO Bob Iger. In a Disney shareholders report, he talked about seeing footage from The Force Awakens, confirmed the release years for the next two films in “this” trilogy, and failed to mention the second standalone film. There’s more, too. Read the extremely loaded Star Wars sequel trilogy quote below. Read More »

Chris Weitz to Write ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff

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Another screenwriter is rocketing off to a galaxy far, far away. Chris Weitz is set to pen the Star Wars standalone being directed by Gareth Edwards, following Gary Whitta‘s departure a couple weeks ago. More on the Star Wars Chris Weitz news after the jump. Read More »

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Han Solo

For months, we’ve heard two seemingly conflicting rumors about one Star Wars spinoff: one, that it’ll be about Boba Fett, and two, that it’ll be about Han Solo. The common assumption was that one or the other had to be false — but if this latest rumor is true, it could mean both of the other ones are, too.

Word is the Star Wars spinoff won’t be a Han Solo story or a Boba Fett story, but a single film that includes both fan-favorite characters. More on the Star Wars spinoff rumor after the jump.  Read More »

tatiana maslany orphan black

Gareth Edwards has begun testing actresses for a lead role in his 2016 Star Wars standalone movie. There’s no word what the role is but The Hollywood Reporter reports Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara, and recent Oscar nominee Felicity Jones are all testing for a part in the film.

UPDATE: Variety reports that Kate Mara also read for the role. Read More »

The Best Movie Animal Performances of 2014

Best Animal Performances of 2014

I was watching Gone Girl for the fourth time and admiring how David Fincher (and his cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth) majestically shot Ben Affleck‘s character Nick Dunne’s cat and I began to wonder about the cat’s true role in the story. The cat is featured too prominently to be just a background prop. What did the cat mean?

As I thought about this I began to realize that there had been a lot of big screen kitties this year. The New York Times notes in their review that “cats are the new dogs,” and judging from the list of animals in this article, they might be right. But as I started to think about it more, it wasn’t just cats but dogs and some actually amazing performances by other animals in this past year of film. So the list of best animal performances of 2014 grew and grew. After the jump you will find my examination of why 2014 was the year of animal movie performances and what it all means. Read More »