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Star Wars: Gary Whitta Talks Prequels, Spinoffs, And More

Star WarsLots of us grew up as Star Wars fans (many of us never really outgrew that phase), but a relative few of us have wound up in a position to actually contribute to that far, far away galaxy in any capacity. Gary Whitta is one of those fortunate enough to do just that, and he has a lot to say on the matter, from talking about fandom to what it was like to be a part of the Star Wars universe.

Pumping up his new book, a dark fantasy called Abomination, he stopped by /film to chat. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for the topic of discussion to turn from his book to Star Wars—Whitta turned in a draft of the first standalone movie in the franchise, directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards and due out in 2016, and departed the production to pursue other avenues.

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The First Standalone Star Wars Film Just Hired This Writer To Replace Gary Whitta

Star WarsThere’s been so much focus lately on J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens that it’s easy to forget that there’s a ton of other stuff going on in that neck of the woods. As part of the massive Star Wars remodel, next up in the production line is the Gareth Edwards-directed spinoff movie. Late last week we learned that Gary Whitta, who had been handling all the writing duties, left to pursue other opportunities. Though he finished a draft, there’s still a great deal of work to be done, and now it looks like they may have found a replacement in the form of Simon Kinberg.

According to Slashfilm’s sources, Kinberg is stepping in to pick up where Whitta left off. This report is unconfirmed and unofficial at this point, but not only does this sound like a good idea, it sounds like an obvious choice. Whitta’s biggest jobs up to now have been After Earth and The Book of Eli, neither of which exactly light you on fire with their scripts. And Kinberg is already entrenched in the Lucasfilm family, running the show over at Star Wars Rebels. He’s also a consultant on The Force Awakens, and swooping in at the last moment to save films is kind of his jam in Hollywood. It’s even been reported that he was already working on one of the standalone films, though it was rumored to the Josh Trank-directed one (Kinberg also worked on Trank’s Fantastic Four). If this winds up being true, it won’t blow any minds, but maybe now he’s writing two spinoffs.

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The First Standalone Star Wars Movie Just Lost This Key Piece

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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Starlight Hires Book Of Eli Writer To Adapt Mark Millar’s Sci-Fi Comic

StarlightWriter Gary Whitta has had a hit-and-miss track record over the years. Having made a name for himself as a games journalist, including a stint as editor-in-chief of PC Gamer, Whitta eventually broke into screenwriting with the 2010 Denzel Washington flick The Book of Eli. His next produced film credit was M. Night Shyamalan’s latest, the critically savaged After Earth. However, Whitta is proof positive that one dud doesn’t mean your career is over, having since been announced as the screenwriter for Gareth Edwards’ standalone Star Wars spinoff (believed to be a Boba Fett movie). That alone would grant him geek bragging rights for eternity, but now he’s running up the score by adapting Mark Millar’s comic Starlight for the big screen.

Starlight is only the latest of several of Mark Millar’s comics to be turned into movies, following on the heels of Wanted and Kick-Ass. Published by Image Comics and featuring art by Goran Parlov, Millar’s Starlight tells the story of Duke McQueen, a strapping space hero in the tradition of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. He etched his name into history by saving the whole damn universe, but that was 40 years ago. Since then, he’s returned to Earth, built a family, and gotten old. Now his wife is dead and his kids off doing their own thing, so what’s left for a grizzled old space adventurer but one last, epic adventure?

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After Earth Screenwriter Gary Whitta On The Stalled Live-Action Akira Movie

AkiraHeadGary Whitta most recently co-wrote After Earth with director M. Night Shyamalan, a flick that could have finally given Shyamalan a big-screen comeback, but which has instead underperformed at the box office. While that’s not the result any movie writer would hope for, Whitta is no stranger to high-profile projects that seem plagued by bad luck. In a new interview with Collider, Whitta opens up about his time spent working on the live-action Akira adaptation that’s been in the works since the dawn of time.

While Akira has gone through numerous other creative teams and is currently mired in development hell, Whitta was one of the earliest writers attached to the project. He tells Collider that he worked on the project for about six months, during which it was attached to director Ruairi Robinson. As Whitta explains, there were obstacles to overcome from the beginning, ranging from trying to avoid an R rating, to finding a way to make it more approachable to American audiences without “whitewashing” the story and characters. (See Shyamalan’s previous film, The Last Airbender, for an example of how not to handle that second problem.) Whitta jokes about the prospect of Shia LeBeouf playing Tetsuo, but then reveals their solution to handling the project’s Japanese roots. They would have set it in New Manhattan…but it still would have been set in New Tokyo. It sounds confusing, but here’s Whitta’s explanation:

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New Telltale Walking Dead Release Hinted At Before Season 2

WDeadFeat

Though it probably wasn’t the action-packed, blood-soaked thriller that some people may have been expecting, Telltale’s episodic Walking Dead game was a masterpiece as far as interactive storytelling goes. It’s a game where you get to choose who lives or dies, and whether you share your truths or lies with each of them. Becoming the lead character for a few hours each episode was a lot of what made Walking Dead so memorable. You’re not just a silent force among the noise. You make the noise. And it’s going to be a long, quiet time until Telltale releases Season 2.

But maybe there is an oasis on the horizon, as London screenwriter and game designer/writer Gary Whitta appeared on IGN’s Up at Noon with Greg Miller and revealed that Telltale is already working on another project to make that long stretch more bearable. You know, for those of us not already overwhelmed by the comic series, TV show, upcoming console shooter, board game, and other Dead products. “Season 2. You want the scoop on season 2? I can’t help you,” Whitta joked with Miller before slowly letting the news out.

There’s not much to say about it because it’s still early in the process…But, knowing that it’s a way off, and knowing that people are hungry for more Walking Dead, I think I can say this…There may very well be more Walking Dead from Telltale before Season 2. We may have a little something extra for you between Season 1 and 2. There may be something in the works even as we speak that will make the wait for Season 2 slightly less agonizing…or more agonizing, depending.

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