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The First Star Wars Spinoff Film Just Hired This Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter

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BobaStar Wars fans have a whole new trilogy to look forward to once The Force Awakens hits theaters later this year, but during the off years between episodes we’ll also be getting standalone spinoff films featuring…well, we don’t really know yet. But the first of those spinoff films suffered a potential setback earlier this month when screenwriter Gary Whitta parted ways with the project. Now we know who will be taking Whitta’s place: Oscar-nominated screenwriter Chris Weitz.

The news comes via THR, who report that Weitz will be taking up Whitta’s lightsaber on the upcoming Star Wars spinoff film, which is currently slated for a 2016 release and is being directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). Weitz is best known for co-writing/co-directing the 2002 flick About a Boy, based on the novel by Nick Hornby, which earned him and his brother Paul an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. He also wrote and directed The Golden Compass in 2007, a failed would-be franchise starter based on Phillip Pullman’s controversial novel. More recently he tackled another YA franchise by directing The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The Twilight connection might unnerve some Star Wars fans, but that’s a case where it’s the source material that’s the problem, far more so than Weitz’s directing it.

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Star Wars: Are Both Reports About The First Spinoff True?

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star warsAs we all wait with an edgy glee for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, progress on the first of the standalone spinoff movies keeps right on rolling along. We’ve heard that they’re auditioning a variety of up-and-coming actresses for an unspecified part, and now that screenwriter Gary Whitta left the production, it’s rumored that Simon Kinberg may take over that role for the Gareth Edwards-directed film. We’ve also heard two potential plots, or at least two loose topics, though they seemed to contradict one another. That, however, may not be the case, and both of these seemingly disparate elements could be part of the same the same movie.

You probably figured this out already, but there are potential SPOILERS for the first Star Wars spinoff. Tread cautiously. It should also be noted that this is all unconfirmed, so take it with a grain of salt or two, maybe three.

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Star Wars: These Three Actresses Are Up For A Role In Gareth Edward’s Spinoff

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star warsJ.J. Abrams and company are in the process of finishing up Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and while we’ll hear occasional tidbits about who is involved, like how three actors from Gareth Evans’ The Raid movies play some part, things are generally closed on that front. But with a slew of other movies in the works, there’s bound to be a ton of casting rumors on that front. And now we’ve got a new report going around about three actresses in contention for a role in Gareth Edwards’ (Godzilla) upcoming standalone Star Wars film.

According to Heat Vision, Tatiana Maslany, Rooney Mara, and Felicity Jones are all testing for an as yet unspecified role in the first of the offshoot films. There’s not much more know than that, as details are being protected by Jedi mind trick. These readings reportedly started in the U.K. before moving stateside. Regardless of the part, or which of these actresses land it, or if it even winds up being one of them, these are three of the hottest young actresses currently working right now.

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The First Standalone Star Wars Movie Just Lost This Key Piece

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Boba FettWith all of the moving parts and pieces in the massive expansion of the Star Wars universe, there are bound to be shifts and changes. Screenwriter Michael Arndt very publicly left Star Wars: The Force Awakens due to creative differences—J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over in the aftermath and performed substantial rewrites. And now there has been another writer departure as Gary Whitta has left the first standalone spinoff.

First reported by The Hollywood Reporter, this separation definitely appears to be more amicable than the previous split. Whitta was working on the first of the planned side movies with Godzilla director Gareth Edwards, and even completed a draft. With his leaving, however, they will likely bring in another new writer.

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The First Star Wars Spinoff May Be Full Of These Nefarious Characters

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star wars bounty huntersWe know there are standalone Star Wars spinoffs coming, we know when, and we know, at least in part, some of the people who will be involved. Aside from that, however, we’re as in the dark as we are about The Force Awakens. Gareth Edwards will direct the first film, with Gary Whitta handling the scripting duties, and while we’ve heard rumblings about the story, now we’ve heard some new potential details. If nothing else, it feels good to talk Star Wars that has nothing to do with the upcoming trailer.

As usual, possible SPOILERS lurk beyond this point, so tread cautiously. And these are far from official, so make sure that if you do read on, take what you find here with a grain of salt.

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Gareth Edwards’ Standalone Star Wars Film Adds This Behind The Scenes Piece

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Given that it’s deep into production, and that it will come out first, the bulk of Star Wars movie news revolves around J.J. AbramsEpisode VII. We haven’t heard much about standalone spinoffs lately, but the first one is busy rustling up the primary players. We know Godzilla director Gareth Edwards will take the helm, and we just learned that his already acute visual sense is going to get an assist from cinematographer Greig Fraser.

Both Edwards and Fraser are relatively young up and comers in their respective fields. Edwards came to the public’s attention in 2010 with his low-to-no budget creature feature Monsters. This unique take on the genre was what landed him the Godzilla job, and when that hit, and hit big this past summer, Lucasfilm was like, “Hey guy, want to direct your very own Star Wars movie,” and he was all, “Yes, yes I do.”

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