Following a major shake-up on the upcoming Star Wars stand-alone movie front, Oscar-nominated writer Chris Weitz has been hired to write the screenplay.
The announcement came a few weeks after news that Gary Whitta, who wrote a first draft, had exited the project. Weitz has an impressive reputation and a list of credits that include the film and TV adaptations of About a Boy. His next project, a live-action Cinderella for Disney, is a high-profile production starring Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, due out in March. Weitz is also working on an apocalyptic YA book trilogy, having released the first installment, The Young World, last summer.
This untitled Star Wars spin-off is being directed by Gareth Edwards, who directed the 2014 big screen hit Godzilla.
The casting process is still in the early stages. Screen tests for actresses are currently underway. Rooney Mara and Felicity Jones are among the contenders for one of the female roles. Reports suggest that Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul is a frontrunner to play the male lead.
Relatively little has been revealed about the plot, except than it will take place before events depicted in the original 1977 big screen feature. Rumor has it that the motion picture will center on either Han Solo or Boba Fett.
A joint production between Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm, Star Wars is one of several stand-alones in the works. It is expected to hit theaters nationwide in 3D and 2D on Dec. 16, 2016.