Chris Weitz To Write 'Star Wars' Spinoff

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.

THR reported the news. Whitta was set to write the Star Wars spinoff last year. He left earlier this month after completing a first draft. As of now, he's moved on to 20th Century Fox's adaptation of Mark Millar's Starlight. We had previously heard that Simon Kinberg would take over.

Weitz is best known as the co-director and co-writer, with his brother Paul Weitz, of the Nick Hornby adaptation About a Boy. The screenplay earned a nomination at that year's Oscars. Weitz also wrote Kenneth Branagh's upcoming live-action adaptation of Cinderella — which, like Star Wars, is set up at Disney.

As a director, Weitz's credits include The Golden Compass (which he also scripted), The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and A Better Life. In addition, he's working on a post-apocalyptic YA trilogy. The first book, The Young World, hit shelves last year, with the second, The New Order, due out this summer.

Casting on Edwards' Star Wars standalone is just barely getting underway, with Tatiana Maslany, Felicity Jones, Rooney Mara, and Kate Mara all testing for a role. Rumor has it the plot centers on a group of bounty hunters stealing plans for the first Death Star, with both Boba Fett and Han Solo slated to appear.

Edwards' Star Wars film is due out December 16, 2016. It's one of two Star Wars spinoffs in the works; Josh Trank is helming the other.