It’s a good day to be a Star Wars fan (do they have a name like Trekkie or Browncoat, or do they just stick with Jedi?) As reported over at starwars.com, the first of the planned standalone spin-off movies has a title, a director and a cast member: Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones shoots in London this summer for a December 16, 2016 release date.
Now, this raises some interesting questions. If you’re an Expanded Universe fan, the title immediately brings to mind the Rogue Squadron books, which saw the unkillable Wedge Antilles leading an elite group of starfighter pilots on various adventures. Dsiney/Lucasfilm are being quiet about plot details right now, but this could indicate that the EU isn’t quite as dead as previously thought, even if it’s only being stripmined for ideas.
Also, will this be the first Star Wars film with a female lead? If so, cool move. Now, it’s important to note that Felicity Jones, last seen in The Theory Of Everything, is only the first cast member announced and not necessarily plying the main character, so we’re deep into speculative territory here, but it would be unusual for the studio to lead with the casting of a secondary figure. A female-centric film would send a strong message that they plan to make the SW universe a more inclusive space, which would be a good move following the sausage-fest that was the first episode VII cast announcement.